Red Sox: Dave Dombrowski deserved to win MLB Executive of the Year

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 18: (L-R) Dave Dombrowski, President of Baseball Operations for the Boston Red Sox, manager Alex Cora, and Sam Kennedy, President and CEO of the Boston Red Sox, pose with the William Harridge Trophy after the Boston Red Sox defeated the Houston Astros 4-1 in Game Five of the American League Championship Series to advance to the 2018 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 18, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 18: (L-R) Dave Dombrowski, President of Baseball Operations for the Boston Red Sox, manager Alex Cora, and Sam Kennedy, President and CEO of the Boston Red Sox, pose with the William Harridge Trophy after the Boston Red Sox defeated the Houston Astros 4-1 in Game Five of the American League Championship Series to advance to the 2018 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 18, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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After a season that ended in a World Series Championship, Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski should have been honored as MLB’s inaugural Executive of the Year.

Boston Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski was named by Baseball America as the 2018 Executive of the Year, an honor that was well deserved. Which leaves us to wonder why he wasn’t even in the running when MLB presented their version of the award.

At the annual GM meetings earlier this month, Major League Baseball announced Oakland’s Billy Beane won the award, with Tampa Bay General Manager Erik Neander and Milwaukee’s David Sterns tying for second place.

Each team was given a single vote to cast for the award and had to be submitted by the end of the season, yet the league did not announce totals for any of the executives.

Beane undoubtedly had another impressive year with Oakland. His team won 97 games, reaching the AL Wild Card game, all while having the lowest payroll in the majors at $62.65 million. However, I don’t believe team-imposed obstacles such as a limited payroll should have detracted voters from giving the title to Dombrowski.

If you technically start the 2018 season as the day the 2017 season ended, the first move made by Dombrowski was on October 22nd when he signed Alex Cora, the then-bench coach of the eventual World Series champion Houston Astros, to be the new manager for the Red Sox.

Cora had one of the best years for a first-year manager. Once he was hired, Dombrowski let Cora manage the team without intervention. Cora combined a new school, analytical approach with a strong understanding of the game as a 14-year career as a player.

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He was everything that former skipper John Farrell lacked and became just the fifth in baseball history to win a championship in their first year as a manager. Like Dombrowski, Cora was beaten out for AL Manager of the Year by the A’s Bob Melvin.

The other obvious move we need to talk about is the signing of slugger JD Martinez. Martinez did more for the Red Sox in 2018 than simply hitting .330 with 43 home runs and a league-leading 130 RBI, which lead to him winning two Silver Slugger awards, both as an outfielder and a designated hitter. He filled the void that had been left by the retired David Ortiz, both in the lineup and the clubhouse.

During the season, the moves Dombrowski made paid off in the postseason. The June trade for first baseman Steve Pearce gave the team a solid platoon man along with Mitch Moreland and parlayed into an epic playoff run that ended in a World Series MVP for Pearce.

While looking for rotation help, Dombrowski’s addition of starter Nathan Eovaldi gave them the depth they were looking for in the regular season, along with perhaps their best pitcher in October, whether it be as a starter or out of the bullpen.

Another less prominent move by Dombrowski was the signing of reliever Ryan Brasier. Pitching all of 2017 in Japan, he was signed to a minor league deal that saw him start the year in Pawtucket, which included a selection to the Triple-A All-Star Game. After being promoted on July 8th, Brasier became one of Boston’s most reliable bullpen arms, finishing with a 1.60 ERA with 29 strikeouts over 33 2/3 innings.

Mid-season trades for second basemen Ian Kinsler and Brandon Phillips also had an overall positive impact on the team after Dustin Pedroia played in only three games in 2018.

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As I stated earlier, Beane, as well as Neander and Stearns, had excellent seasons in the front office. Yet from the day that Cora was signed, to 371 days later when Boston won their fourth World Series championship this century, no executive did more to help their team succeed than Dave Dombrowski.

He should have been named MLB Executive of the Year, and the fact that he wasn’t even in the top three is an insult to the year Dombrowski had.