Guys we’ve reached the middle of winter and it is freezing.
Everything from the ground and air to the MLB hot stove and even to my pasty white ass is ice cold. And with no imminent moves on the horizon, now seems like an appropriate time to make an early evaluation of Dave Dombrowski’s first offseason as president of the Red Sox.
I know some of you may be thinking that after last year’s dumpster fire of an off season, it would be easy to write this one off as a success automatically. But I for one still have some questions and this team still has some holes so I think it’s more than fair to closely evaluate what’s happened this winter.
Now when you start the winter with a blockbuster deal for an All-Star closer like Craig Kimbrel, you’re definitely moving in the right direction. Was Manuel Margot a high level prospect? Yes. Could he be a stud in the future? Yes. But that’s the future, Kimbrel is a stud now, and will continue to be so for years. You have to give something to get something and I think Dombo hit the nail on the head with this one. And as if that wasn’t enough for the bullpen, the Sox traded Wade Miley for Carson Smith and Roenis Elias. Smith is a fireballer and a damn good set up man. Elias is a lefty with a nasty curveball who is fitted for both the back of the rotation or the heart of the bullpen.
And with the bullpen bolstered through these moves, Dombrowski turned to the rotation to drop his biggest bomb by signing one of the biggest free agent starters on the market: David Price. Now look, I’ve despised David Price for as long as I can remember. It’s straight up an addiction. Hating DP is like cigarettes to me. But of course deep-pockets-Dave had to go all CVS on my ass and take that away from me. Now I gotta like the guy after almost a decade of disdain, and there’s no nicotine patch for that sh!t. Don’t get me wrong if he pitches like the ace he’s supposed to be, it’ll be a hell of a lot easier to like him.
Now all of these signings do have some risk to them. Closers are like Cinderella carriages, it’s only a matter of time before they turn to mushy pumpkins. And while Kimbrel hasn’t shown signs yet, it could happen at any time, and how much the Sox get out of him, will determine in the long run if he was worth the price we paid.
Smith has been noted as having an awkward arm angle, and any time a team is willing to part with an apparent stud like him there’s a reason to raise a red flag. Wade Miley was also the only veteran starter on the squad to show even the tiniest bit of consistency last year (and it was tiny). So this deal could also have a negative impact on the rotation if guys like Rick Porcello and Clay Buchholz don’t bounce back this season.
As for Price, when you think of the last time the Sox signed an ex-Ray player to a 7-year deal, it’s easy to get the spookies. Carl Crawford was such an unmitigated disaster that I don’t blame anyone for questioning signings with deep Tampa Bay ties. Also you can’t talk about Price and the Sox without talking about his beef with David Ortiz. And even if you believe it when they say it’s water under the bridge, if the season starts to go south, it could be a fire starter in that clubhouse. And even if he does perform well and there are no locker room issues, with an opt-out clause in his contract, he could just walk for an even bigger deal after his third year here.
But even with these possible risks associated with these pitching moves, the biggest risk is actually with the position players. Why? because nothing’s been accomplished at all. You want to try to tell me that Chris Young is enough to improve this lineup? Get the f*ck out of my face with your Chris Young crap. He’s a fourth outfielder at best and can’t hit righties for dick, so pardon me if I think he’s not the answer.
Look, overall I think Dave Dombrowski has done a solid job with this team so far. If all goes right, they should be poised for a playoff run, and a deep one at that. But to problem here is that “if”. With the exception of 2013, most of the “ifs” for the Sox haven’t gone their way this decade. And considering the fact that Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, and Eduardo Rodriguez were the only things that went right last year, it’s not hard to envision things going wrong again this year, making for yet another baseball-less October in Boston. So Dombo has done his job so far, but we have to wait until the sh!t hits the fan in June. Only then will we see how good Dave Dombrowski really is.