Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports

Red Sox notes: Dombrowski in no rush to deal major leaguers

Rob Bradford
November 13, 2017 - 6:58 pm

ORLANDO -- It was assumed in some circles that if the Red Sox were going to make a serious run at Giancarlo Stanton, some key pieces of their major league roster would need to go in the deal. Maybe not. (That is if Stanton actually even approved a trade to Boston, which is no certainty.)

One National League general manager surmised that because the Marlins would be prioritizing getting rid of Stanton's $325 million deal -- which runs through another 10 years -- the need to break up the foundation of a big league roster wouldn't be a necessity. So perhaps, the likes of Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. are sticking around, after all.

The notion that the Red Sox won't look dramatically different in 2018 was then solidified thanks to Dave Dombrowski.

"We have a good club. We have a good team," said Dombrowski from the GM meetings at the Waldorf Astoria, Monday afternoon. "We won 93 games. We won the A.L East two years in a row with those number of wins, so we have a really good foundation of players that we like and really can be a foundation for years to come. I've also been open-minded to anything that takes place. We're not looking to overhaul our team. We're looking to fine-tune our team. We made a change with the staff. I think Alex will bring something to help us out in that regard. But I think it's a situation where, again, you're open-minded to anything, but we're really not looking to make a major overhaul with our club. Now, how do you get that person? Sometimes that philosophy maybe doesn't fit because maybe it doesn't work because maybe you just can't acquire them. But we like our club. We like the foundation when you start talking about the three young outfielders. People forget [Andrew] Benintendi was a rookie last year. We look for [Rafael] Devers to play for us all year long. I think a couple of positional players can have bounce back years. Our pitching staff will be strong once again. So I think we're in a spot where we like our foundation."

It is known, however, that the Red Sox are seeking out a big bat to add to the equation. 

Two years ago at the GM meetings, Dombrowski made it clear that the Red Sox were going to be trading for a closer and signing a starter. This time, the path to accomplishing the offseason goal isn't quite as defined.

"I do not. There are a lot of options," he said when asked if the Red Sox' primary acquisition was going to come via trade or free agency. "There are a lot of different people out there who fit that description of first base/DH. I think as these talks get started at this time ... And there are also some free agents out there. So I don't have one way we're leaning, one way or another."

- While the Red Sox remain on the lookout for lefty relievers, they do feel secure if no good value emerges. Part of the confidence stems from moving Roenis Elias and Brian Johnson (who is out of options) to the bullpen to start spring training.

"We do have a couple of left-handers," Dombrowski said. "Robby Scott did a nice job for us last year. I go also thinking about ourselves converting some of the lefties that we have that are depth. Brian Johnson to see how he does, Elias to see how he does, in those type of roles. So we have some guys that potentially have that ability, but I would say that’s one area that we’re open-minded to improving ourselves."

So, with the movement of Elias and Johnson out of starting spots, does Dombrowski feel OK about his starting depth?

"I am, because it doesn’t mean that you can’t go – with those guys that go into the bullpen – if things don’t work, it doesn’t mean you can’t use them as protection for you also, so we have depth in that regard," he said. "We think Steven [Wright] will be ready. [Eduardo] Rodriguez not far behind. But it’s not to say they can’t still be used for depth purposes. I don’t think that’s a main priority for us this winter time, starting pitcher, because I think we like our starting pitching. However, as the winter progresses, if somebody’s out there that makes sense to add, I wouldn’t say that we definitely would not do it, but I’m comfortable where we are."

- Dombrowski briefly addressed the physical tests given to Daniel Flores at the time of his signing last July. The 17-year-old passed away from cancer Wednesday.

"Very thorough physical, yes. He came into Boston for his physical," he said. The Red Sox executive couldn't elaborate, citing HIPAA regulations. "There was a thorough physical at that time," added Dombrowski.

- Dombrowski offered an update on Tyler Thornburg, who missed all of 2017 after undergoing thoracic outlet syndrome surgery.

"He’s doing fine," he said regarding the reliever. "He’s in a position where he’s been throwing. He’s where the doctor feels he should be. He’s now in a position where he needs to strengthen his shoulder, which is normal of that. The anticipation is that he should be ready to go for spring training, but as we also know, thoracic outlet syndrome is a major surgery. There’s been no setbacks. Everything’s been positive. We’re hoping he’s ready. I don't know if you can100 percent say, 'OK, he’s going to be in your bullpen on Opening Day.' Not because somebody’s told me he can’t be, just because of the type of surgery he had."

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