FORT MYERS, Fla. — Commenting on his new president of baseball operations, Red Sox owner John Henry said this about Dave Dombrowski: “Very hands-on. He has a different style than we’re used to.’’...and not so positive things to say about the last two GM's:
Amen. Dombrowski is nothing like his predecessors, Ben Cherington and Theo Epstein.
Ben and Theo were data-driven young guys with skinny jeans and smartphones. They ran the Red Sox from inside the basement walls of ancient Fenway. There is no need for sunscreen; one cannot get burned from the light of a laptop....and remains hostile to anyone who can run numbers:
We rarely saw Ben or Theo. We didn’t see them much around the batting cage, the clubhouse, or the press box. When they did emerge from the bunker, they’d sometimes react to an approaching reporter by whipping out their cellphone for an urgent call.
But now it is Dombrowski who runs the Red Sox, and we are seeing a return to the old days. Henry this week acknowledged that the Sox had became overly reliant on analytics."Now get off my lawn!"
Returning to the age of scouting is a clear concession to Dombrowski, who first learned about major league baseball while working for Hemond, a Cooperstown-worthy baseball man who succeeded in the majors long before the invention of Bill James.
Dombrowski is about winning NOW. He is not irrationally protective of the trove of draft picks assembled by Theo and Ben. Dombrowski has retained Mike Hazen and the basement boys of Boston’s baseball ops, but by Henry’s own admission, the Sox are no longer slaves to WAR, UZR, or the inestimable tonnage of skull-imploding numbers and projections assembled by men and boys who never played the game.