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Hard-Hitting Baseball Analysis

Dealin’ Dave Dombrowski strikes again, refuses to watch title window Sale away

Some people, for one reason or another, simply make things happen. Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is clearly one of those people. Dombrowski, just like he’s done throughout his career, dipped into his cookie jar of prospects and flipped them for a star player, this time White Sox southpaw Chris Sale.

dealin' dave dombrowski

Oops, Dealin’ Dave did it again.

The price? Oh, just Yoan Moncada, a 21-year-old phenom with electric bat speed and athleticism who has the ability to throw up multiple 30/30 seasons in his sleep. Oh yeah, and RHP Michael Kopech, who boasts a fastball that’s been clocked as high as 105 MPH. And in case that’s not enough, Dombrowski threw in toolsy outfielder Luis Basabe and hard-throwing RHP Victor Diaz for good measure.

But, as the old adage goes, you have to give up something to get something. And this “something” just so happened to be a dominant, cost-controlled ace who has flummoxed hitters throughout his career with a violent, herky-jerky windup paired with a high-octane fastball and a devastating slider.

chris sale boston red sox

Boston’s title window is wide open for the next few years. These windows tend to close shut rather abruptly and unpredictably. Nobody understands this better than Dave Dombrowski, who saw his window with the perennially-contending Detroit Tigers slam shut after being swept by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2014 ALDS.

While the youthful Red Sox appear to be much better suited for long-term success than the aging Tigers were in 2013, they were not particularly well-equipped to win a World Series as constructed on December 5, 2016. Despite Rick Porcello’s surprising Cy Young campaign and the luster of David Price’s reputation, the Red Sox lacked a pitching staff that could go mano a mano with run prevention juggernauts like the Chicago Cubs or Cleveland Indians. And given the fact that the club’s offensive production will almost surely decline in 2017 with the loss of linchpin David Ortiz and possible regression from numerous players who had either career (Jackie Bradley Jr., for instance) or resurgent (see: Pedroia, Dustin or Ramirez, Hanley) years, this was a move the Red Sox needed to make, the future pain the deal will cause notwithstanding.

While a deluge of hyperbolic prognostications regarding the Red Sox predictably flooded the Twittersphere last night following the acquisition of Sale, this team still has a lot of question marks.

Can Pablo Sandoval be a productive player again? Will Xander Bogaerts rebound from a poor defensive season? Will former Brewer Tyler Thornburg, acquired just hours before Sale, be able to dominate like he did in 2016 in a high-pressure environment? Will the Red Sox have good injury luck again in 2017? Is Rick Porcello a bona fide frontline starting pitcher or a one-year aberration? Can David Price rebound from his—relative to his lofty standard—lousy year or is his reduction in fastball velocity too much to overcome? Will the Red Sox still have an elite offense despite the loss of David Ortiz?

For all the uncertainty facing the Red Sox as they look forward to 2017, one thing is for certain: this team has as good a chance as any not located in Chicago of winning the World Series. Dave Dombrowski, once again, zeroed in on a target and got his man. He’s done his job. Will the 2017 Red Sox do theirs?

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Updated: December 7, 2016 — 6:52 pm

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