Soon after the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31, Dave Dombrowski made a public admission about the state of the Red Sox organization.
“I know our farm system has taken a hit, and a lot of that is my responsibility because we’ve traded a lot of guys,” the president of baseball ops said.
With the Red Sox sitting at 81-34 before last night’s game, few fans could complain.
But when the focus starts shifting toward the next three seasons, the image starts to look bleak.
More than half the current team will be eligible for free agency by then.
When they entered the offseason in the winter of 2016-17, the Red Sox had a consensus top-five farm system in baseball.
Today, it’s consensus bottom-10, bottom-five in the eyes of some.
It wasn’t planned this way.
The Sox had no intentions of blowing up the farm system two winters ago. It had gotten weaker after Dombrowski traded for Drew Pomeranz during the 2016 season, and acquired Craig Kimbrel in exchange for four prospects (only Manuel Margot has become a valuable everyday player out of that group, and his .711 OPS through 233 major league games shouldn’t cause any to feel regret) the previous offseason.
But then White Sox general manager Rick Hahn called Dombrowski and told him he was serious about trading Chris Sale during the winter meetings in 2016-17.
“We hadn’t planned on going to D.C. doing that,” Dombrowski told the Herald this week. “The Chris Sale trade came out of the blue, because we were not anticipating the White Sox (trying) to trade him and we wanted to get involved and we traded some talent.”
Shortly after the Red Sox traded top prospects Yoan Moncada (.704 OPS in 168 major league games for the White Sox) and Michael Kopech (still in the minors) in the Sale deal, they flipped three more prospects plus Travis Shaw (.848 OPS in Milwaukee) to the Brewers for Tyler Thornburg (5.91 ERA in 102⁄3 innings in Boston).