This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for.
After weeks of not really having a head at the top of the baseball operations department, the Phillies are closing in on hiring former Tigers and Marlins president Dave Dombrowski to the same role here in Philadelphia, according to Jayson Stark of The Athletic. I profiled Dombrowski back in October as someone who could be a candidate for the job. A rather successful executive in his time in the MLB, Dombrowski has built three separate teams into World Series contenders. The Marlins and the Red Sox both won titles under his leadership in 1997 and 2018, respectively. He left the Marlins to take a job with the Tigers in 2001, but the Marlins teams that won the World Series in 2003 has Dombrowski’s finger prints all over them.
Most of his time in the Majors was spent with the Detroit Tigers, and though they weren’t able to reach the pinnacle of baseball and win the Fall Classic, his time there was still impressive nonetheless.
In Detroit, Dombrowski was hired to run a rebuild for the lowly Tigers. After he fired Randy Smith in 2002, Dombrowski became both president and GM of Detroit. He brought in a familiar face in Jim Leyland, who he had also brought into Miami, to manage the team. Three years after losing an AL record 119 games, the Tigers had won their first AL pennant since the 1984 season. In 14 years with the organization prior to his release in 2015, Dombrowski had resided over a team that had four consecutive American League Central division titles and won two AL pennants. Quite a different feel for a team that had only four playoff appearances from 1946 to 2005.
In hiring Dombrowski, managing partner John Middleton is getting the two things he seems to have been valuing the most during this whole search: experience, and a winning pedigree. Dombrowski has been a baseball executive since 1987 and has flourished in multiple cities, including two which could be considered big markets. He has a very close relationship with Andy MacPhail, which I am sure helped aid the Phillies in making this decision. In a way, this type of hire is in direct response to the 2015 hirings of MacPhail and former GM Matt Klentak. Dombrowski was only going to take a job in which he had full autonomy, and it was known that Middleton wanted his next president to be more involved with day to day baseball operations more than MacPhail has been. Middleton has stated that the Phillies have struggled in developing players for their entire history, so the importance of this hire doesn’t seem to be lost on him.
One of the areas where Dombrowski has been criticized is his tendency to makes a lot of trades. Some people aren’t necessarily behind that type of approach, as they believe that organic growth is more important. However, looking at his track record, he doesn’t trade people for the sake of just trading them. Dombrowski has always been aggressive in ways to make his teams better, and I’m sure that’ll be the case this time around. The Phillies need to be aggressive, especially with how the team performed last year AND the current economic climate. Dombrowski definitely has the experience making the necessary moves to build a competitor, which is desperately needed for a team that hasn’t made the postseason since 2011.
The Phillies drug this out much longer than we had hoped, but to get a guy with the experience and pedigree that Dombrowski has makes it worth the wait.
I hope that Dombrowski and company can bring back the feeling that we all had in 2008, because we’re all tired of losing. The Phillies had to do something to stay relevant in the hungry sports city that is Philadelphia.
Let’s see if this was the move to make.