Dave Dombrowski believes his team is still good enough to win the World Series, so Wednesday’s lack of activity at the MLB trade deadline doesn’t reflect his overall thoughts about his team’s talent. But even Dombrowski himself had to be realistic as it pertains to his club’s current place in the standings.
The Red Sox president of baseball operations surprised many when he ultimately decided to do nothing Wednesday before the 4 p.m. ET deadline. The inactivity put Dombrowski in the tough spot of trying to convince the public his team was good enough to win it all, despite not adding to or augmenting the roster for the stretch drive and playoffs.
Dombrowski was forthcoming when he admitted at a Wednesday press conference Boston might have been more willing to part with prospects if they were closer in the standings, but the Red Sox entered the day facing a double-digit deficit in the American League East. So while Dombrowski can say a lack of action doesn’t represent a lack of belief in his team’s chances to right the ship, it is fair to say the Red Sox were far less likely to get stupid with the one-game wild-card playoff being the most likely playoff scenario for the third-place club.
“I think we’re in a position where we have to be realistic with what our situation is,” Dombrowski said Thursday with “Dale and Keefe” on WEEI-FM. “… I think we’re in a position where our talent is very good. It’s just a matter of sometimes you look at it differently if you’re right there one game (back in the standings) and the type of acquisition cost which might hurt maybe you’re willing to deal with that hurt a little bit more if you’re right there and you’re (more likely) going in for a five-game playoff rather than a one-game playoff.”
Essentially, Dombrowski operated under the belief that the cost-benefit analysis wasn’t worth the risk, especially with the price of doing business at the deadline.
“(Usually) I’m willing to trade young players and I am open-minded to it when I’m in that position, but you always have to make deals that are logical,” he explained. “We thought that the deals being asked, based on the fact that we’re 10 games behind and the incremental difference they would make for us — for example, if you’re going to trade a premium prospect who is relatively close to the big leagues, for somebody you might have for two months and you’re not so sure that you’re in a spot where you’re going into a one-game playoff you’re hoping to do that — you may weigh that differently if you figure ‘Hey this guy right now we’re definitely going for the (five-game series).”
That all makes sense, and it’s hard to fault Dombrowski for taking that stance. But it’s not like the problems came out of nowhere, and the bullpen especially has been an issue all season. Then again, the rotation hasn’t been much better, and if the Red Sox pitching doesn’t improve across the board, Dombrowski and Co. won’t even have to worry about that one-game playoff anyway.