With latest setback, Steve Pearce re-signing indicative of Dave Dombrowski's failure to improve Red Sox

Alex Reimer
July 03, 2019 - 11:05 am

The defining moment of World Series MVP Steve Pearce’s encore performance in Boston so far came on the White House lawn, when President Trump embarrassingly said the veteran journeyman, who was hitting well below the Mendoza Line at the time, was enjoying a successful campaign.

“When it counts, he does really well,” Trump said sheepishly, in a rare moment of apparent self-awareness. 

Few moves embody Dave Dombrowski’s failure to improve upon his World Series winner last offseason than his hasty decision to re-sign Pearce for $6.5 million before the Winter Solstice. In a depleted free agent market, there was no demand for an aging platoon player, who’s stopped in seven cities during his 13-year career. Yet, Dombrowski allocated millions of dollars to Pearce, while not bringing in anybody to replace the departed Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly.

Dombrowski told reporters Tuesday Pearce fell last week in a minor league game, which could “keep him out for a while now.” He slashed .180/.245/.258 in 29 games for the Red Sox prior to landing on the Injured List.

While Pearce was sensational last October, it was easy to forecast his fall. There’s a reason why he’s played for every team in the AL East.

Last week, Red Sox principal owner John Henry told WEEI’s Rob Bradford in London he was apprehensive about allocating more resources towards baseball’s most expensive team. While Henry’s claim about losing money appears disingenuous –– the Red Sox are worth at least $3.2 billion, according to Forbes –– he has spent at least $232 million on payroll this season. It’s hard to castigate Henry for not spending enough. 

Dombrowski spent plenty of money last offseason. Unfortunately, he used roughly $75 million to bring back World Series heroes Nathan Eovaldi and Pearce. Neither has played since temperatures started rising above freezing around here, though Eovaldi is destined to return as closer in what promises to be a disastrous panic move

If the Red Sox brought in a quality veteran arm instead of Pearce, it’s possible the Eovaldi shift wouldn’t be necessary. The ramifications for this mistake could last far longer than the embarrassment of inadvertently getting called out at the White House.