The Boston Red Sox just won the 2018 World Series, so they’ve already capitalized on their supposed championship window. Everything else for the next few years is gravy, right?
Well, that’s not exactly how Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski views the situation. Because while he’s heard the chatter that Boston’s title window is closing, especially amid rumors the Red Sox are listening to offers for established veterans nearing free agency, he firmly believes the team is positioned to contend for the foreseeable future.
“I’ve never bought that,” Dombrowski told reporters Wednesday at the Major League Baseball winter meetings in Las Vegas, per WEEI.com. “I’ve heard it before. When I was with Detroit, I heard it there. We won a lot of games after that. And I think the reality is when you have a foundation of good players, which we will have under any circumstances, and you have revenues to spend and a good organization, that your window of opportunity to win with that group of players, maybe, is done. But it doesn’t mean your window to win is complete.”
The Red Sox have won three straight American League East titles, racking up at least 93 victories each year. They finally got over the hump in 2018 — Alex Cora’s first season as Boston’s manager — by winning the World Series on the heels of a 108-win regular season.
A title definitely goes a long way toward alleviating pressure, but Dombrowski isn’t sitting on his hands. He’s already looking toward 2019 and beyond, well aware the Red Sox have several important questions to answer in the coming months, and he’s extremely confident in Boston’s ability to achieve sustained success thanks to its young, talented core.
“The reality is when you look at our club, we still have a lot of young players that are not close to free agency, a couple of key guys, (Andrew) Benintendi and (Rafael) Devers,” Dombrowski told reporters. “Guys we have for quite a while. We have some starting pitching signed for long-term and if we do lose X, we can try to get Y. And a lot of times you want to retain your own players, but if it doesn’t work, you try to go out and get somebody else and ownership is very supportive of us having a good club.”
Craig Kimbrel currently is a free agent, and he’s far from the only Red Sox player whose long-term future is uncertain. Chris Sale, Xander Bogaerts and Rick Porcello are among those slated to hit free agency after next season, while Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. can test the open market after the 2020 campaign. J.D. Martinez also has several opt-out clauses in his contract.
From the outside, it’s reasonable to wonder whether the Red Sox’s window is closing — albeit with a World Series title to show for it. Just don’t tell that to Dombrowski, who could have something up his sleeve while carrying out a long-term vision.