Bradford: Dave Dombrowski has finally found some leverage

Rob Bradford
December 18, 2017 - 5:33 pm

USA Today Sports

At the MLB winter meetings, Scott Boras broke off an interesting analogy.

"When you're in the bus, you don't go anywhere without a road. I don't make those roads," the agent said.

Dave Dombrowski just managed to constuct at least somewhat of a bicycle path.

The Red Sox president of baseball operations has done what many thought wasn't possible, finding at least a little leverage when it comes to this offseason. And he did it without trading away any valuable pieces of the organization, or really allocating much money to the issue, at all. He did it by signing Mitch Moreland to a two-year, $13 million contract.

All this does is eliminate one of the two players Boras was holding all the cards to, first baseman Eric Hosmer. For the Red Sox, that was fine with them.

About a week ago, one member of the organization told me that there really might not be that much of a difference between Hosmer and Moreland. Besides three years in age, and batting average, perhaps. There is a difference, no doubt. But not $100 million difference, to be sure. 

That's one part of the equation.

Another consideration is that the Red Sox' chief target all along was J.D. Martinez. That hasn't changed. What the Red Sox can do, which they couldn't prior to Monday, is look at Boras with a straight face and suggest they have a team that can function without Martinez. Is it going to be the Yankees? Probably not. But if they believe Hanley Ramirez can find his Marlins swing (as promised a few weeks ago), and Moreland doesn't break his toe again, the postseason isn't out of the question.

"Yeah, I'd feel comfortable with it," said Dombrowski when asked if he was thought the Red Sox could function as currently constructed, "I do believe a lot of our people will be better internally than last year. We are looking to improve it and still have... but yeah, I feel comfortable. I think you also have to combine offense with defense and I think we have a good defensive ballclub. I think when people look at Mitch sometimes there are a couple guys out there that hit more home runs, from an offensive perspective that people could think may be more appealing, but for us we really like the all-around game that Mitch brings to us offensively and defensively. But yeah, I'd feel comfortable. We do have a variety of ways that we could go and explore different ways as we go forward. But I also think, at least right now, we're in a position that we could go forward as we are now. I think there's a lot of things to be done in the industry between now in spring training and we'll keep abreast of what those things are and see if we can still help ourselves."

Listening to Dombrowski, however, Martinez is still in the cross-hairs.

The Sox boss did say that he believed that the team could sign an impact bat without trading anyone off the big league roster. While that wouldn't seem impossible -- remember the Adrian Beltre signing -- it wouldn't seem likely. In that scenario you would be talking about having to perhaps platoon Moreland and Ramirez, with the likes of Jackie Bradley Jr. perhaps getting down time against lefties. What that would also do is perhaps eliminate Ramirez's $22 million vesting option for 2019, which kicks in with just under 500 plate appearances.

So, where does this leave the Red Sox' offseason?

They continue to wait. But, for Dombrowski, patience just became a bit easier to muster.