It is easy to sing the praises of Theo Epstein after his recruits fill out the respective All-Star squads, and I take nothing away from him
But I’ll give Dave Dombrowski plaudits before the Red Sox have played a single game in the second half. He saw the needs; he made the moves. The holes on the pitching staff are plugged and the bench is replete with role-players.
Reliable starting pitcher? Drew Pomeranz- check
Late-innings/ closing pitcher? Brad Ziegler- check
Power hitting infielder? Aaron Hill – check
Bolstering catching corps? Sandy DeLeon retained.
For two years the Red Sox brooded over their reclamation projects: Clay Buchholz, Joe Kelly, Pablo Sandoval, Jackie Bradley Jr., waiting for them to rejuvenate. Only Jackie Bradley Jr. proved worth the wait, and I’ll admit I had given up on him. Patience may be rewarded, but it has seldom vindicated Red Sox general managers. Last year at this time the Red Sox were sellers and believers in redemption of starting pitching. In the fall came Dombroski and regime change.
Dombrowski was not patient. He brought his wheelbarrow of cash to woo David Price, and he sacrificed a valuable Minor League prospect to land another lefty: Drew Pomeranz. It may be easy to second guess these moves, but I, for one, will not wait for the end of the season to use 20-20 hindsight. I am delighted for an impatient general manager who sees a pennant within his grasp and reaches for it.
I’ll make some predictions which I think will vindicate Dave Dombrowski and make Sox fans forget Theo Epstein.
- David Price will have a sizzling second half and win twenty games or more.
- Steven Wright be a little less consistent, but still finish with 17-18 wins
- Drew Pomeranz will suffer a little in the American League East, but he will still win 12-14 games
- Rick Porcello will continue to give up gopher balls, but he will also pitch brilliantly enough to match Steven Wright
- Eduardo Rodriguez will finally get his act together and substitute for either Pomeranz or Porcello one of whom will hit the disabled list by September.
- Hanley Ramirez will hit 20 homers in the second half
- David Ortiz will get hurt before September, but return for the playoffs.
- Pedroia will get hurt in August and be replaced by Brock Holt. Never sure how long Pedey will recuperate, but he will probably return before he’s ready.
- Top clutch hitters in the second half will be Betts, Ramirez and Aaron Hill, because Ortiz will be walked more than ever.
- Brad Ziegler will be the closer until Kimbrel returns.
- Setting up will be Ross, Barnes, and Uhehara. Bucholz will be traded for a good middle innings pitcher. Tazawa will be a slow comeback.
I don’t know who else will deepen the Red Sox bench, but I know Dombrowski will not be waiting for 2017 to win a World Series. That’s why I like him.