Red Sox: Dave Dombrowski tossing a shutout


Boston Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski made three significant offseason moves and so far the results are tepid.

Boston Red Sox baseball operations guru Dave Dombrowski made three notable forays into the trade and free-agent market all designed to dramatically improve the Red Sox and march into the playoffs. All three have failed at varying degrees at the halfway point and that is despite a team that is on a pace to (hopefully) get 90 wins. DD is pitching a shutout and not in a good way.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington was a great movie with enough pathos and redemption to keep depression era audiences riveted to the screen watching Jimmy Stewart in Frank Capra’s masterpiece. Our Mr. Smith, one Carson Smith, went in search of not Washington, but the best available orthopedic surgeon to repair his frayed arm, or “soup bone,” as the old timers would say.

The question with Smith revolved around mechanics. Not the kind that would repair a Bentley, a prized vehicle by most of the baseball performing glitteria, but his unusual delivery. The word around the campfire was Smith was pitching on borrowed time and warning flags were fluttering. The Mariners – who gleefully accepted Wade Miley in exchange – noted as such through the post-trade grapevine.

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This was certainly a risk-reward option and Boston was willing to assume the risk portion since Smith represented a sure shutdown option in the late innings. More will be known around next July if that assessment is accurate, but in the here and now the result was 2.2 innings pitched before undergoing surgery.

The Mariners also tossed into the trading scrum one Roenis Elias, who had some lukewarm success for the Mariners. So far the results have been another Cuban disappointment, as Elias has posted an ERA about the same as the price of a bleacher seat.

The trade is a loser at this point. A reliable innings-eater was sent packing and what was given to Boston has tanked. As with Stewart, the deal is still not done and the end result in 2017 or beyond could be, as with Mr. Smith, a redemption, but for now it is just baseball fodder.

Is Craig Kimbrel part of the Dombrowski shutout? This is certainly a difficult one since in the role he was supposed to play in Boston, Kimbrel has been as advertised. Kimbrel’s job description is to save games and to do that he must be in a save situation and not non-save situations. The numbers for both are diametrically opposite. With the game on the line, Kimbrel is certainly earning his All-Star status. If not, it is a game time batting practice.

You look at the big picture, meaning the statistical line, and Kimbrel looks horrid, but, as stated, that is the end result of a manager – John Farrell – who has not quite grasped the analytical information that the numerous personnel responsible for analytics provide. What exactly does Farrell do with this information?

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Shigenari Matsumoto is listed as an interpreter and maybe they need a reading coach? I was once certified in the Wilson Reading System and will gladly assist Manager Farrell through the various pages that somehow he apparently ignores.

The Kimbrel trade is a loud foul at this point – the type of ball that is crew chief reviewed and eventually given as just a very impressive strike. Was it the smart deal? Certainly was for me, even if the players sent packing surface as contributors out west. Still, it hasn’t turned out as expected.

The Red Sox went after an ace and got one – at least in the time frame of the offseason. David Price was the up in lights option and as a disclaimer, I would have emptied the prospect cupboard for Chris Sale, but I admittedly would make a lousy GM.

Price was, for most observers and the Red Sox, the most reasonable choice since it is money and you get to keep the latest versions of Lars Anderson or Craig Hansen. The Red Sox pulled the van up to the Price estate and unloaded the dough and so far Price has delivered as a lower end rotation pitcher.

This is a bitter fiscal pill to swallow for the Red Sox, but Price is not Clay Buchholz and we do not get a litany of post-disaster excuses. The problem is Price’s reflective qualities on pitching improvement become a routine after every start. Maybe the time to produce is now?

Making the right moves does not necessarily mean they will be successful and that is why the manager’s and GM’s end up as coaches or teaching college courses. DD made the smart and the right moves and the results have not been as expected.

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The half season results show a shutout, but the beauty of baseball is it is only half a season. If Price somehow restores his pitching dignity and Kimbrel is used in appropriate situations by a new manager, then DD may finish strong and go 2-3 to jump back to the worn hitting analogy.