Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski joined the Hot Stove Show on WEEI on Tuesday night and discussed his belief that Jackie Bradley Jr. and Rusney Castillo will be starting outfielders on Opening Day, that Hanley Ramirez is healing, and that whether through free agency or trade, the Red Sox hope to add a No. 1 starter.
“I think you’re always careful when dealing with players that you’re really not going to tip your hand on what you’re going to exactly do,” Dombrowski said. “We do want to get somebody that can lead the top of the rotation. You’re open to signing free agents, and you’re also in a position from our perspective where you’re open to trades. Those are different areas that we would explore. Where it eventually would take us, only time will tell.”
Dombrowski touched on a host of topics.
On Bradley and Castillo in the outfield:
“I would feel comfortable going into the season with them. I think they have the ability to be a real dynamic group together. . . . Jackie Bradley and Rusney Castillo are in a spot where they showed a lot of good things, and there’s no question they’ll go into the season as our starting group. But they have to continue to grow like a lot of young players do. Jackie’s one of the best defensive outfielders I think I’ve ever seen. So that’s a plus, and Castillo’s got the all-around game. But you look for young players to continue to grow and continue to work hard, which they do now. I think they want to be excellent players, so they’ll have to continue that growth spurt. They’ll also be in a position where they’re going to have make adjustments, because the league will adjust to them and expose their weak spots. They’ll have to work hard to eliminate those weak spots and make the adjustments.”
On whether Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts are untouchable:
“I have always tried not to say players are untouchable. The reason I have done that is because you never can tell when somebody makes you an offer you just can’t believe. If you have Miguel Cabrera, somebody may offer you two Miguel Cabreras. Probably not going to happen, probably never will happen, but unless you listen, you don’t know.
But I do think when you talk about talented young players, Mookie and Xander are two you think are going to be backbones of the organization for years to come. So that’s how you approach it, and then you see what’s taken place. I would be very surprised if they’re not strong parts of our lineup next year.”
On Hanley Ramirez’s offseason:
“Hanley actually was away for a while. He spent the first couple of weeks doing some conditioning. Then he went away for two weeks and he just got back from vacation with his family, so he’s just getting back in the country and just beginning his workouts at this time.
“We do think that his shoulder will be fine. It’s a situation where he’s rehabbing it, of course, and will continue to do that. We project that it will be fine going forward. He’s always going to have a little bit of structural problem with it. He’s had that for years. But nothing of major consequence to keep him out of the lineup. We do think that he will be fine.”
On the risks of signing an ace:
“It’s always costly if you’re going to get top of the rotation starters, not only from a trade perspective, but also from a free agent perspective. Either way, it’s costly. We’ll have to just determine who we pursue, and I think also, as time goes on, I’ve seen organizations that try to get some players and it doesn’t end up working, well you have to go to Plan B, and a lot of time Plan B can get you to a situation where you have a good club. Ideally we’re looking for that type of guy, but only time will tell where it takes us.”
On when he knew he’d re-sign veteran Clay Buchholz:
“I remember the last homestand we had here, I watched him throw a side session, I think it was the Sunday. I know at that time, people had been telling me he was healthy and had been throwing for a while. But I saw the bullpen session and he threw the ball outstanding at that point. He had an outstanding curveball, in addition to the pop on his fastball. You could tell he was healthy. He had that look in his eye. At that point, in my own mind I thought, ‘If he comes back tomorrow and he feels good, we need to pick up that option and we’re going to pick up the option.’ So that was really the time.”
On Matt Barnes:
“Our plans are for him to come to spring training, and we’ve already talked to him about this, and really focus in on the bullpen, to try to help us with that power arm out there.”
On copycats trying to steal the Royals’ championship formula:
“When we were in a position where we watched San Francisco win (last year) and I asked the general public at that time, ‘If I told you we were going to go into the postseason with one real strong starting pitcher, and that would be the only one that would be effective in the postseason, would you want me to build a club that way?’ And people shook their head and said no. Well that worked this year, because Madison Bumgarner basically put the Giants on his back.”