Red Sox Hire Dave Dombrowski, Signal Change in Philosophy

On August 4, the Detroit Tigers “released Dave Dombrowski from his contract,” as owner Mike Ilitch decided to promote assistant general manager Al Avila to take the team in a somewhat different direction. While Avila worked closely with Dombrowski, he did make it clear that he intended to modernize the team’s front office a bit more, promoting analyst Sam Menzin to a more prominent role and noting that they’d be expanding the department under him. Dombrowski had a successful run as the Tigers GM, but is one of the more traditional executives still running teams in this age of increasing information.

And now, two weeks later, Dombrowski has landed a new position, taking the title of president of baseball operations with the Boston Red Sox. As part of the transition, GM Ben Cherington will be leaving the organization, and Bob Nightengale reports that former Braves GM Frank Wren is the most likely candidate to replace Cherington. Wren was ousted in Atlanta in part because the team had fallen behind the curve analytically, so a Dombrowski-Wren combination would make for one of the more old-school front office tandems in baseball.

Given that the Red Sox have been among the most aggressive teams in terms of implementing analytics and using data to drive their decision making, this looks like a pretty monumental shift in organizational philosophy. Given that nearly every move Cherington and his staff made last winter has turned out as poorly as possible, it’s not a huge shock that he’s taking the fall for the team’s second consecutive losing season. But it is a bit surprising to see the team apparently change course so aggressively. Dombrowski certainly has a strong track record of building contenders, but it looks like the Red Sox may be pivoting away from data and more towards scouting in response to their recent failures.

One thing’s for sure: This weekend’s Saber Seminar — held in Boston, and with a schedule that was to include a large number of Red Sox front office officials, Cherington included — just got way more interesting.

Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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Fenway Bullpen Cop
8 years ago

Can I be reassigned?

Dave Dombrowski
8 years ago

The opportunity to reunite with Rick Porcello was too tempting to resist.

8 years ago

Are you the same person that posted that on OTM?

Hollywood Hills
8 years ago

There is absolutely no change whatsoever in how the Phillies are run.

Bill Giles put the ownership group together with people who think like him 35 years ago. Guess what? Bill Giles is still there. He took part in the hiring of MacPhail and Klentak both. He was at the press conference announcing the hiring of Klentak.

35 Years.

Jim Thome and Cliff Lee

That’s it.

35 Years.

Carlos Ruiz and Maikel Franco, the only two starting quality players signed out of Latin America. Ruiz was signed out of Panama for eight thousand dollars. Need that in numerical form? $8,000- Eight Stacks.

Maikel Franco was signed for $100,000- That’s one hundred thousand American dollars. One hundred Stacks.

The Red Sox paid $63 million to sign Yoan Moncada. The Phillies paid $108,000- to sign both Carlos Ruiz and Maikel Franco.

Two real free agents and two starting position players from Latin America signed for nothing.

The Phillies Way is unchanged. They will sit in the cellar until they collect enough free talent in the MLB Plantation Slave Auction held every June. These young slave/intern players will be exploited to the max by the Phillies bloodsucking ownership cabal. For seven years they will make these bloodsucking criminals massive profits. If a few become fan favorites and the crowds are still huge as they near free agency then they will be signed to short, team friendly deals. If any have slipped through their screening process and turn out to be normal players seeking long contracts they will be demonized and booted out the door.

The Phillies after telling lies to their fan base from 2012 onward finally admitted they were “rebuilding”. The truth of the matter is they are already planning their next rebuild as they conduct this one.

THAT is The Phillies Way.