Dave Dombrowski explains why Red Sox weren't in on Edwin Encarnacion

Rob Bradford
June 17, 2019 - 9:09 pm

MINNEAPOLIS -- It was the first big salvo of the trading season in Major League Baseball. Edwin Encarnacion is now playing for the New York Yankees.

But the question was whether or not the Red Sox had any interest in getting in the mix for the American League home run leader. Dave Dombrowski offered the answer to WEEI.com in the visitor's dugout at Target Field late Monday afternoon.

"No," the Red Sox president of baseball operations said. "For our ballclub at first base and DH, that’s a tough thing for us."

But why the Yankees, a team that already was flush with power hitters at the designated hitting and first base spots?

"I knew Encarnacion was available but I didn’t know where he was going to go," Dombrowski noted. "I can’t say I saw (him going to the Yankees) coming but that’s up to them to make those additions."

The timing of the move was also curious considering how relatively early in the trading season it came. But the Sox boss downplayed any idea that this would be a sign of the times now that there would be just one trade deadline, with teams unable to deal after July 31.

Dombrowski pointed to the recent lack of trades made in August, with the Red Sox not using the waiver trade deadline to enhance their roster in either of the past two seasons due to the inability to get their desired targets through waivers.

"I don’t think it’s an indication that this year is any different than last year," he said. "I don’t think it has anything necessarily to do with the trading deadline changing. This is how it has been the last couple of years when you have some clubs who are willing to declare themselves not in it earlier than normal and I think there are more clubs that are like that. Some clubs are willing to make that move if they have a particular need at that time if the asking price is right. As you could see with Encarnacion, he’s a good hitter and it looked like there was some drive to move salary, too.

"(The lack of a second trade deadline) is not really different. For us, where we’ve been, there haven’t been any players that we had any desire to acquire who have been available. They’ve all been blocked. Everyone. For two years straight. So there’s no difference whatsoever for the Boston Red Sox, and really for most clubs. So really I haven’t found it to be any different than what we’ve had in the past because we knew when we got to July 31 we were in a position where we weren’t going to be able to get players. They were blocked. It’s always a challenge and it’s a challenge because you’re waiting for guys to come back from injuries, but that’s what your job is and that’s what you continue to do."

In 2018, the Red Sox did execute a strategy similar to this season's Yankees, dealing for Steve Pearce on June 28. But, as Dombrowski pointed out, in the case of last year's club the needs were more defined than what the club is currently looking at. Injuries and under-performance are putting some of the evaluations on hold.

"Last year we were healthy and we identified that need against left-handed pitching so that’s where the Pearce scenario stood out, and even (Ian) Kinsler at the time," he noted. Really when you look at our club there are a few guys we’re talking about but we think on June 25 (Steven) Wright will be ready to come back and (Nathan) Eovaldi is making great strides so he should be back in plenty of time by then. Pearce, he’ll be healthy, we just have to hope he goes out and performs like he’s capable. So there’s plenty of times to do all those type of things. Now, what you don’t know is what else is going to happen. Nobody knows those things."