The Boston Red Sox have a core in place.
Dave Dombrowski understands he’ll need to make changes before next season. And those changes ultimately could dictate whether Boston bounces back in 2016. But the new Red Sox president of baseball operations also feels very good about the situation he’s walking into. Several up-and-coming Red Sox players already have caught Dombrowski’s eye.
“The quality of the young players is really good,” Dombrowski said Friday on MLB Network Radio. “It doesn’t totally surprise me, but when you start looking at the young outfielders here, with (Mookie) Betts and (Rusney) Castillo and Jackie Bradley’s been playing phenomenally. You look at (Xander) Bogaerts up the middle and (Blake) Swihart behind the plate. And then you look at Eddie Rodriguez pitching-wise.
“You’re in a position where you start saying with those our young players just starting at the big league level and having them all break in at one time, I think it puts you in a position where you can have a real foundation going into the future that can be very positive.”
Dombrowski’s list of names isn’t surprising. Those players all figure to play prominent roles in Boston’s future. It is refreshing to hear the new man in charge heap praise on certain players and pinpoint a “foundation,” though. It gives an idea as to how he might operate with regard to trading pieces.
That said, improvements need to be made, especially with regard to the pitching staff. Dombrowski’s track record suggests he prefers to have an ace — he traded for both Max Scherzer and David Price while with the Detroit Tigers — so it’ll be interesting to see if he goes all-out to land a front-line starter.
“Some guys are throwing the ball very well and there are some parts of the staff that have done very well, so I don’t want to, by all means, just generalize, but I think the reality is that the pitching staff needs to get better,” Dombrowski said Friday. “We need to be in a position where you can ideally take the pressure off the rest of the staff, and one way that you can do that is being in a spot where you have a top-of-the-rotation-type guy.
“There’s different ways you can go about doing it — you can sign people, you can make trades. But that’s something in consideration.”
One thing that’s become very clear in the early days of Dombrowski’s tenure is that he’s a big fan of Eduardo Rodriguez’s work. Dombrowski pointed to Rodriguez during his introductory press conference earlier this week as having ace potential, and he reiterated that stance during Friday’s radio interview.
“I do think that even in watching him pitch three or four times over television or in person here that Rodriguez projects to be that type of guy in the future, but of course he’s not ready to do that right now,” Dombrowski said. “So we’re in a spot as we look forward that we will be in a position to, I’m sure we’ll try to improve our starting pitching and our bullpen, too.”
Dombrowski has a lot of flexibility in trying to build a contender. A solid foundation is taking shape at the major league level and more potential impact talent is coming up through the Red Sox system.
The future looks bright. It’s now about capitalizing on the enviable situation.
Thumbnail photo via Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports Images