Tracy Ringolsby

Dombrowski's moves shouldn't surprise anyone

Red Sox's president of baseball operations is always thinking one step ahead

Dombrowski's moves shouldn't surprise anyone

Before the All-Star break was even over, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski had his shopping done ahead of the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Looking for a right-handed bat, Dombrowski picked up Aaron Hill from the Brewers on July 7. Two days later when closer Craig Kimbrel was lost at least until the end of August because of left knee surgery, he acquired Diamondbacks closer Brad Ziegler.

And then, while most of baseball was watching left-hander Drew Pomeranz pitch an inning in a Padres uniform in the All-Star Game, he was busy finalizing a deal to fill a void at the back end of Boston's rotation with Pomeranz.

Surprised? Don't be. Dombrowski doesn't sit still.

Pomeranz throws scoreless 4th

Dombrowski is the kid who talked his way into a job with the Chicago White Sox, learned and advanced so quickly that in July 1988, he became the general manager of the Montreal Expos at the age of 31, the youngest general manager in history at that time.

Dombrowski was the original general manager of the expansion Marlins, and by 1997, their fifth year of existence, he enjoyed the World Series championship celebration.

Hired to assume the general manager's role of a Tigers team in shambles in April 2002, Dombrowski endured 225 losses in those first two seasons, but in his fifth year, the team was back in the World Series for the first time in 22 seasons.

Fifteen of the 24 players who appeared in the postseason for the Tigers had been acquired during the Dombrowski-era in trades, free-agent signings or waiver claims, including three of the four starting pitchers (Kenny Rogers, Jeremy Bonderman and Nate Robertson), closer Todd Jones, and five of the starting position players (Placido Polanco, Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Guillen, Pudge Rodriguez and Sean Casey).

And after watching the Tigers make four consecutive position appearances (2011-14) and being told this past August he was no longer needed, only two weeks passed before Dombrowski was announced as the president of baseball operations for the Red Sox. He was reunited with owner John Henry, whose decision to sell the Marlins and buy into the Red Sox was what prompted Dombrowski to leave Miami for Detroit 14 years ago.

Get the picture? Dombrowski is a doer.

Four months after assuming control of a Red Sox team headed to a second consecutive losing season and given the mandate to get things turned around -- quickly -- Dombrowski acquired Kimbrel from the Padres in exchange for four Minor League players, and he signed free-agent deals with left-hander David Price (seven years) and outfielder Chris Young (two years).

That's the same Price that Dombrowski acquired for the Tigers' pennant push the day before the non-waiver Trade Deadline in July 2014, and then dealt to the Blue Jays during their run to the postseason a year ago.

Now, it wasn't much fun for Dombrowski a year ago. The Tigers were struggling, and instead of looking for help, he was looking to unload, which is why he dealt Price along with outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who went to the Mets.

Dombrowski is more into building than revamping.

After seeing the expansion Marlins suffer losing seasons in their first four years of existence -- while the expansion-rival Rockies were making a postseason debut in their third year -- original Marlins owner H. Wayne Huizenga told Dombrowski he wanted to win at all costs.

Dombrowski didn't hesitate. Prior to the 1997 season, he went on a free-agent signing spree that included right-hander Alex Fernandez, third baseman Bobby Bonilla and outfielder Moises Alou, in addition to retaining potential free agent Gary Sheffield with a multiyear deal that made him one of the game's first $10 million-a-year players.

Dombrowski also acquired Cliff Floyd in a March trade, and he filled late July needs with the acquisitions of second baseman Craig Counsell and the left-handed bat of Darren Daulton.

Things went well -- until the day of the parade to celebrate the Marlins' World Series championship, when Dombrowski was told to undo the work he had done. By the time the Marlins made a White House visit four months later, 11 members of the 25-man World Series roster had already moved on.

Huizenga also got rid of the franchise, selling it to Henry, but when Henry decided to move on and become a part of the Red Sox's ownership group, Dombrowski decided it was time for a change, too.

Fourteen years later, they have been reunited. Henry wanted someone to shake things up in Boston, and it's a role that suits Dombrowski well.

Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.