Bradford: A reminder that anything is possible with Dealer Dave

Rob Bradford
November 13, 2017 - 10:45 am

USA Today Sports

ORLANDO -- This will be the third time Dave Dombrowski has attended the GM meetings while calling the shots for the Red Sox.

So far, when it comes to setting the stage for shock and awe acquisitions, he is two-for-two. And that's why you should be paying attention to what unfolds at the Waldorf Astoria over the next few days.

Two years ago, the GM meetings presented us with the reality that the Red Sox couldn't trade for a top of the rotation starting pitcher. Too expensive. A few weeks later, David Price had his $217 million deal. We also learned that Aroldis Chapman wasn't worth the trouble, hence Craig Kimbrel's acquisition less than a week later. And Chris Young? It was made clear during those days in Boca Raton that he was going to be made the priority when it came to finding a fourth outfielder, leading the Sox to their offer of a two-year contract.

Last year in Arizona, the words from White Sox general manager Rick Hahn and Dombrowski suggested a trade for Chris Sale wasn't going to be a possibility. Chicago wanted Rafael Devers on top of Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, and the Red Sox weren't interested in going down that road.

But ultimately it was the building blocks surfaced during those GM meetings conversations -- ("The Sale thing came out of nowhere," one executive recently remembered) -- which made the seemingly impossible, possible.

So, as the meetings kick off Monday, with Dombrowski offering his first update at approximately 5 p.m., such rumors as the ones involving Giancarlo Stanton shouldn't be pushed aside.

Sure, some are saying the Red Sox are all hot and heavy for the outfielder, while others suggest St. Louis and San Francisco are the favorites. No matter. Pay attention to every minute of it. As we found out with Sale a year ago, the end-game might not be found during the GM meetings, at least there will be a legitimate road to conversation.

It is almost a lock-solid certainty that at least one of the top names in this offseason's rumor mill -- J.D. Martinez, Eric Hosmer, Giancarlo Stanton -- will be holding a Red Sox press conference in December.

Perhaps the only difference this time around when it comes to Dombrowski's approach will be how he might have to shuffle the deck chairs. If a serious play for Stanton is made, we won't be talking primarily about giving up minor league talent, as has been the case for virtually every one of the Red Sox' president's big moves (with the exception of Travis Shaw). We're potentially discussing Xander Bogaerts. Maybe Jackie Bradley Jr. Perhaps others.

Then there is fitting in the likes of Martinez. It would seem he would simply become the designated hitter, with Hanley Ramirez going back to first base. But perhaps Bradley Jr. is moved, which would slide Andrew Benintendi over to center field and lead to another acquisition to fill in at first base, leaving Hanley at DH.

Or they could just simply lock up Hosmer, put him at first base, and hope the holdovers up their power game.

While taking the approach of locking up a power bat is inevitable, there will be other things to consider when it comes to figuring out what exactly the foundation of this team will be.

When they do commit big money to one of these three, you're going to be seemingly bowing out of next year's historic free agent market, unless David Price opts out. Then there is the need to make a decision on an extension for Sale, who will be eligible for free agency after the 2019 campaign.

Bogaerts. Bradley Jr. Mookie Betts. All aren't going to be far away from forcing similarly difficult decisions.

This we do know: Dombrowski is going to make it more interesting than most. And that's why no name, or rumor, should be discounted, unless the president says they should be. (See Edwin Encarnacion.) Welcome to another Red Sox offseason.

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