Dave Dombrowski is wrapping up the MLB Winter Meetings. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)
OXON HILL, Md. — The dust has settled. Dave Dombrowski and Chris Sale have both explained their experiences during the pitcher’s trade to the Red Sox. And now the question can be asked: What did the Red Sox think of the scissors incident?
The issue in question was Sale cutting up the White Sox’s throwback uniforms last season in protest of having to wear the garb during one of his starts.
So, did it concern Dombrowski at all when acquiring his new ace?
“Well, I mean, I think you do your checking when you read that and see what you feel causes some things,” Dombrowski said during his meeting with the local media at the MLB Winter Meetings Wednesday night. “But after I’ve checked things out, not really, no.”
The conversation led to how the Red Sox viewed Sale’s personality and make-up, which of course was secondary to the talent offered by the 27-year-old lefty.
“There’s always an on-field and an away from the game,” Dombrowski said. “On the field, he’s as competitive as can be. He’s got an edge to him, a good edge. His teammates love him. I mean, I’ve seen him pitch so many times in my career being in the same division. I know we never liked facing him. And off the field, actually, I’ve heard a lot of pleasant things about him. He’s expecting his second child. He told me the due date is December 20. Doesn’t know that his wife will make it until then. But he lives 20 minutes or 25 minutes away from the ballpark in Fort Myers. He lives in the Naples area.
“I’ve heard tremendous things about him as an individual. And actually, it’s amazing because again, it’s a small world, he grew up in the Lakeland area. I remember meeting his father at a ballgame at times just by coincidence in the past. Not that that tells you about the individual himself. So, I’ve had a lot of connections throughout the time period. A couple of our guys know him very well in the organization and say really good things about him.”
— Predictably, the Red Sox received a lot of calls on their starters after the Sale deal gave them seven — David Price, Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez, Drew Pomeranz, Steven Wright, Clay Buchholz and the newcomer.
Dombrowski explained that the interest from teams involved Rodriguez, Pomeranz, Wright and Buchholz, but not the top three.
“We’re just kind of sitting back at this point and kind of collecting thought processes,” he said. “But I can’t say we’re aggressively looking to doing something. We’re really more digesting what’s taking place. I think if we wanted to aggressively make a deal, we could definitely do that. but I don’t really have a big hole on our major league club to address at this time, in our opinion. So I think it’s really important to gather all the information. I think it’s also one of those where there are other conversations that have already taken place – not with our organization, between clubs. Some teams have guys available. There are some free agents out there. so I think some of that stuff, as it clears, we may find that even more clubs are aggressive. I think our philosophy, let’s just kind of see what happens. We’re not going to rush out and do anything.”
— Dombrowski was asked if he believed that the acquisition of Sale would help take the pressure off Price, the same way Porcello benefitted from the Red Sox’ investing in $217 million in another starter.
“David would be fine either way, but it’s always good for a club if they have a number of guys that they can really be top-of-the-rotation type guys that take the pressure off everybody else,” he noted. “You know everybody has a bad outing here and there, and somebody picks you up in that case. That’s helpful. If we didn’t have it, though, I’d still have the same confidence in him.”
— With the assumption that Mitch Moreland’s one-year deal will get done shortly, there isn’t much the Red Sox have to do. Dombrowski did open the door for some kind of additional movement.
“You look at your team, would you rather have a left-handed-hitting utility infielder or a right-handed-hitting utility infielder? We’ve had some discussions on those types of things,” he said. “There would be nothing of major consequence at that point. But we could address something small like that.”
— Dombrowski did talk to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, who labeled the Red Sox as the Golden State Warriors of MLB, joking with his counterpart about the psychological gamesmanship that came with the comment.
But the Red Sox’ president did warn of mustering up any kind of guarantees.
“On paper, that’s it, because you have to go do it when you’re on the field,” Dombrowski said. “I think we have a strong starting pitching staff that’s deep. We have a deep bullpen in my opinion. I think [Tyler] Thornburg is really going to help us in that regard. Quite a few people have approached me about his abilities from other clubs. They got some good players too but we really like Thornburg. We like some of those other arms we have in the bullpen. We still have a very good offensive team. We have actually a very good defensive team too, it’s athletic so I think, we led runs scored by 100 last year. I can’t predict that everyone will have the same years. David [Ortiz] is a big reason for that. But I think we still need to have a really good offensive team so we like the overall aspects of the ball club. Now we’ve got to stay healthy but I think when you put our club out there we have a chance to win.”
— Speaking of Ortiz, one question that had to be asked once again after a tongue-in-cheek Instagram post from the former designated hitter joking he might still play after the Sale acquisition: Did Dombrowski check in once again after the jocularity?
“I never ignore David Ortiz, geez why would you ever … It’s amazing how the number of people that reached out to me last night on that,” he said. “No, I don’t reach out to him because I know David well enough and I do know that if he really had sincere interest that he would call. But I also know that he has to stay on the voluntary retired list for 60 days. So there’s rules that are involved in that and I think he was just joking about something like that, I talked to him. It’s just like when I walk in the clubhouse and he’s working out, and I say, ‘Hey, you’re looking, you could play now, look at the shape you’re in.'”