Dave Dombrowski held his press conference earlier and listening to him talk sure puts excitement in my body.
He knows that our pitching staff needs work and that our bullpen needs an overhaul. Obviously this year there are a number of more starting pitcher's via free agency compared to bullpen guys, so if the ownership gives him the money, I'm sure a big power arm will be coming to Beantown.
Dave mentioned that Clay has passed all his medicals and they have not done anything with his club option yet. He said that the "back end of the rotation is not a problem" but he would like to go out and get a top guy, how many well, he said "start with one and go from there." Dave said that the team is "looking for that one guy who can be your horse, if you can get him."
Dave said that outfield-wise the team is pretty much set, other than trying to get another vet out there just as an insurance type of piece and a guy who can fill in incase of injuries (I imagine another guy like De Aza). He mentioned that Castillo looked tired at the end of the year and he is hoping for more consistent hitting out of him.
Closer wise he said that Uehara is the team's closer right now but obviously that can change. There is concern that if we have an injury, like this past year, we want someone who can step up and fill in. The organization also does not want Uehara to have to put all the weight on his back. They hope to find someone else who can help him take some of the weight off.
Dombrowski mentioned that he loves "hard throwers who get people out" when talking about the bullpen. He said that he is "open to free agency and trades" when it comes to the bullpen. A quote that has me excited is when he said "ideally you want a power arm that can get that strike out for you". Hopefully we can see someone come and the bullpen can develop a great one two punch.
Having only about seven weeks of evaluating at the end of the season was a benefit to him as a new GM, however, you have to take certain things like guys being tired and it being the end of the season, into consideration so that you do not over evaluate. He said he is "very happy I had seven weeks because we wouldn't be where we are right now" (has an organization) if he hadn't had the seven weeks to evaluate.
When asked about the Hanley first base subject, Dave said that he and the organization are committed to Hanley being the first base and that he "believes he is as well". Dave added that "will it work, time will only tell." He also mentioned that Travis Shaw is a great piece to have because he can step in if the Hanley experiment doesn't work. Also with Sam Travis coming up through the system, the team has great depth at first. Basically the positions are all set for next year, so I don't see a Big Baby Davis signing this offseason.
Our catcher situation is another great plus because we have two excellent young catcher's in Swihart and Vazquez. Dave talked about how great Swihart is at hitting and how athletic he is and he touched on how even though he hasn't seen Vaz play, everyone tells him great things about his defensive abilities. We will probably see a good battle between the two for the catcher job come spring training.
Dombrowski was asked if he thinks that our team will have enough power compared to the teams in the playoffs now and he said we have enough guys who hit for power but that we also are fortunate enough to have guys who can do more than just hit for power. The team collectively has a very low strikeout number he mentioned. "We won't have the power that Toronto has, but hopefully we'll beat them in another way." is a quote that is very accurate because I don't see next years team being a bomb squad like Toronto, but I do see them as a team that mashes doubles, steals bases and plays very aggressively, which sounds like KC to me and they have been doing pretty well.
The subject of Brock Holt came up as it always does and about how does it fit in, will he have a set position, etc. Dave reiterated that Holt is extremely valuable to this club because of how versatile he is. Dave said that if "he plays the way he did last year, there will be room for him on the club," Hopefully a team doesn't come wanting him in a trade because I for one, love the Brockstar.
A question was asked about how big market teams should be in the playoffs each year because of the financial advantage that they have and Dombrowksi talked about that perfectly. He mentioned how teams like the Cubs and Astros are a good example of teams in a big market who took some pain for a few years and now are reaping the benefits. They have great young talent and now are great times and probably will be for years to come. We are in a very similar situation where we have these great young guys in our organization who are going to help this team for years to come. He mentioned that how most big market teams usually have a hard time getting good young talent because of big contracts and how we are in a great position now because of the pain that we have gone through. I, for one, cannot wait too see what some of these young guys like Moncada can do at the higher levels. We are very fortunate because we have all of these great prospects and a team that I believe is just a few pieces away from contending. Not many teams in the league are like us.
Moncada is penciled in to play winter ball in Puerto Rico and then High A with Salem but obviously that can change. Allen Craig may be stuck in the minors, unless something on another teams opens up for him. Dombrowski added that since he cleared waivers, it usually makes it more difficult to move him, but he hopes something opens up for him somewhere else.
All in all the presser really was just a nice little update of things that we already knew. The plan sounds like going out getting our ace, possibly another top pitcher and rebuilding our bullpen. Sounds good to me because I believe that the guys that we have, with the exception of Hanley, will be great next year. I hope that the Panda can be better defensively and will lose some weight and that Hanley will be fully committed to playing first but like the Big Dombrowski said, only time will tell.
Buckle up, by the looks of things, it's going to be a long winter, and hopefully Big D will pull through and lighten up our days by going out and getting the pieces that this club needs to bring home another championship to Beantown.
By Connor Yourth