Some baseball executives would hesitate to mortgage the future for a chance to achieve short-term success. Dave Dombrowski is not among them.
The Boston Red Sox’s president of baseball operations proved as much Tuesday, acquiring left-handed ace Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for four top prospects in a blockbuster trade that shocked Major League Baseball.
Sale didn’t exactly come as a bargain — infielder Yoan Moncada is MLB.com’s No. 1 prospect in baseball, while pitcher Michael Kopech isn’t far behind at No. 30 — but in a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Dombrowski made it very clear he was willing to pay the price.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to have Chris Sale on board with us, “Dombrowski told reporters, as aired on NESN. “We feel it gives us a chance to win now. He’s under contract for three years. Our rotation, we feel, is very strong.”
Dombrowski said trade talks for Sale picked up last Friday night, when White Sox general manager Rick Hahn called him to say the five-time All-Star was on the trading block. After a few days of negotiating, Dombrowski was ready to pull the trigger.
“We gave up some good young talent, and there’s no question we gave up two of the better prospects in baseball in Moncada and Kopech,” Dombrowski said. “We like the other two guys in (Luis) Basabe and (Victor) Diaz. But for us, it just came down to — we thought at this point that this gave us, really, a significant chance to win.
“You never can tell what happens if you can, first of all, make it to the postseason, but secondly, if you get there, do you progress from there? We saw (in 2016), we did not. But we think it gives us the best chance to do it, and it’s not just a one-year type of deal. But, if I was in Rick (Hahn’s) case, I would be very happy with the return that I got, because those are good young players.”
It’s clear the Red Sox’s early exit in the 2016 American League Division Series still stings for Dombrowski, and he wasted little time in doing something about it: With Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello atop its rotation, Boston is a legitimate World Series contender in 2017.
“I see that (Chicago Cubs manager) Joe Maddon was over there,” Dombrowski said. “We’d like to duplicate what he did (in 2016 by winning the World Series). That’s what your ultimate goal is, year in and year out. And that’s what we’re trying to accomplish.”
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images