Will Dave Dombrowski build the Phillies into a winner?
I wasn’t following the Phils’ search for front office help (after reassigning former general manager Matt Klentak) very closely. So I didn’t really know what names were on their short list – or their long list.
But I certainly wasn’t expecting Dave Dombrowski to be the guy they hired. I don’t mean that in a negative way, because I like the move. Dombrowski has won everywhere he’s been – Montreal, Florida, Detroit, Boston. And has two World Series titles to show for it. I just thought they’d bring in a younger executive from an organization like the Dodgers or the Rays (that would’ve been fine, too).
The main criticism I’ve heard and read from Phillies fans about Dombrowski is that he destroys farm systems and leaves the wreckage behind. He does trade prospects for stars, yes, but the vast majority of those prospects don’t pan out. For example, he traded a boatload to get a young Miguel Cabrera to the Tigers from the Marlins. Cabrera is a first ballot Hall of Famer, and only one player in the package, Andrew Miller, had a nice career, as a lefty reliever.
While with Detroit, Dombrowski also dealt for a young Max Scherzer when he had been nothing special with Arizona. Several Cy Young Awards later, Scherzer is also going to be in the Hall of Fame.
Obviously, not every move he made panned out, but Dombrowski has also restocked farm systems. He possesses an eye for talent, no matter what level. Some say he’s too old-fashioned, when teams rely more on analytics these days. I hope the Phillies can strike a balance, because Klentak was seen as relying too much on analytics.
Something to pay attention to: Dombrowski isn’t afraid to hand out big contracts that can be very onerous on the back side. Cabrera, for instance, has three years left on an eight-year, $248 million deal with the rebuilding Tigers. He’ll make $30 million next season, at the age of 38, when he hasn’t driven in 100 runs since 2016.
That’s the price, however, many teams pay these days in pursuit of championships. If Dombrowski can win a World Series title or two with Philadelphia, then I believe that price is worth it.