Dave Dombrowski

Dave Dombrowski on D&C: 'Some guys can [move to a new position] and some guys can't'

August 20, 2015 - 6:47 am

New Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski joined Dennis & Callahan Thursday morning to talk about his new job and the team as a whole. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. Dombrowski was officially named to his position Wednesday afternoon, and while he's not been quick to make clear-cut statements, he has offered general statements when it comes to the team and his philosophy. When asked about Hanley Ramirez, for example, Dombrowski said it's not true any athlete can play any position. "I haven't seen Hanley play at left field very much because of course I haven't watched him play," he said. "But it's a situation where, realistically, when I look at other people, I have seen good players, good athletes not be able to play a certain position. I have seen that happen, so I never really draw the assumption that anybody can play anywhere because I've had the experience of a guy that's a good athlete all of a sudden can't make the move to the outfield, or can't even make the move to first base where a lot of people say, 'Well anybody can go over and play first base,' that's not true. I think there's a lot more than just assuming that any good player can move to another position. Some guys can do it and some guys can't." He also didn't confirm or deny whether John Farrell would return as manager next year, citing his health as what's most important right now. "I think the first thing with John is, and I don't know John real well, I have a respect for him from across the diamond, we know each other but not real well, I know he's very passionate, and a very regarded baseball man," he said. "I think the first thing with John. We need to be in a position he takes care of his health, that's first and foremost. We'll sit down and visit over the next week time period, probably by the end of this homestand, but John's under contract for next year. That's the thought process at this time, but we need to be in a position where we look at his situation from a health perspective. He needs to take care of that first and foremost and again, he's very highly regarded." Dombrowski has a bit of a reputation for trading prospects for proven veteran players and has had a fair amount of success doing so. He noted that he has "never considered any player untouchable," whether he's young or an established veteran. "If you have a player in their prime, and I used to say, well, if you have a guy like a Barry Bonds in his prime and all of a sudden somebody came around and offered you two Barry Bonds, you'd say, yeah, I'm open-minded to that," he said. "I would make that move, so I don't think you have untradeable players. There's players that are more difficult to trade depending how your club sets up, but I think you're very open-minded to anything because you need to have an open mind in order to make deals happen. "You need to be open-minded to move guys around in your club that fit best, and I think if you start saying to a lot of clubs, 'Well these guys are untradeable players,' and a lot of times that even is for young players in a system where somebody will say that guy's untouchable. Well, there are guys that exist like that, but there really are not that many of them because the reality is that guys are prospects for a reason. "I like young players, I like when young players are meshed in an organization. That's what's really great here, you see some really good young players at the major league level and some other guys in the minor league system. I have built with young players in Montreal and in Florida but then also enhanced those guys with trades and free agent signings, so there's all different ways to go about it, but I think you need to be open-minded in every circumstance to make your club better." He added that while he can't guarantee anything yet, he knows the Sox "have a chance to be competitive quickly." "In this game anything can happen, it's a changed game," Dombrowski said. "You have clubs that jump from last to first ... you have the ability if you make some good moves, and players continue to progress to be competitive and once you get into a postseason any particular year, anything can happen." One of those players who can keep progressing is Eduardo Rodriguez, who Dombrowski regards as a "young ace sitting in the rotation that's not quite ready to be that No. 1 guy yet." He said he will guarantee that the team will "look to improve our pitching staff however [it] can." Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox. On having traded Rick Porcello with the Tigers and seeing him struggle this year: "Well we liked Rick, I'm not really sure what happened this year. I know he's really scuffled this season and I'm not really sure about that and I'll be looking forward to hearing what people have to say on what their thought process is there, but we liked Rick. We thought he was a solid pitcher at the big league level. He'd won a lot of games for us, you could kind of mark down 12 to 15 wins in his scenario. We just thought for the long run, we probably weren't going to be in a position to sign him for the dollars that would be needed to sign him at that time, so we in turn made the move. We thought we had a little bit more pitching depth, some of it got hurt this year but we did like Rick and know that he's had an established, young career and think that he can continue to do so and I'll look forward to visiting with him and the staff members to find out what's taken place." On having a hands-on owner like John Henry: "I'm very happy to sit down with John any time and discuss anything. He owns the team and I should be in a position where I can answer any type of question that he would throw at me because maybe I can't answer all the things about the Red Sox right now because I don't have a full knowledge of it, but as time goes on, I should be able to answer all those questions, and he can ask any question he would like." On whether he can have a passionate disagreement with Henry: "A lot of times I don't think there's 100 percent assurance on any decision that you normally make, but I think that disagreements and different thought processes are healthy for organizations. I worked a long time with Jim Leland. He is one of my best friends, he is one of the best managers in baseball history and in recent times in particular, and we had some of the most passionate disagreements you would ever have. Yet when we walked out of the room, we were on the same page. We understood what the other person thought, we were one organization but we, by all means, expressed our own opinions, and they didn't always mesh. And I think if you're in an organization that's not a mathematical two-plus-two, if you're in an organization where you're not looking at scientific formulas and you're looking at evaluations and thought processes, if everybody's agreeing all the time, you probably have a problem. You probably need to have people view their opinions, not what they think you want them to say, but what really their feelings are."