5 Takeaways From Dave Dombrowski’s Press Conference
Dave Dombrowski was announced today in an introductory press conference. I was very critical of the hire from the jump, but I won't lie, his answers were refreshing. It was honestly strange to hear a Phillies presser that didn't turn into a joke with embarrassing quotes thrown around by John Middleton.
The Phillies are not one piece away.
If you look at the history of Dave Dombrowski, he is known to package up prospects, trade pieces, and acquire talent to make a push. His track record shows he is not afraid to swing and miss. One of my biggest concerns was that this organization believed they were closer than reality, resulting in poor decisions. Essentially, I was afraid they would try to put a "patch" on the current roster even if it wasn't the best idea for the long-term success. Hearing Dombrowski mention the team not being one piece away makes me believe they understand it's not about going all in for certain players. Maybe they are accepting this year being more about assessment?
A mix of scouting and analytics.
I am someone who is adapting to the new era of baseball. I love it. Most baseball fans were critical of Kevin Cash's decision on pulling Blake Snell in the World Series when he was dealing, but I supported it. Do what got you to the World Series. If I was in charge, I probably would have went with a younger, analytically driven President/GM from the Tampa Bay Rays, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Minnesota Twins, or others. This organization has committed to an analytical approach and it wouldn't make sense to turn away from all of the assets you put into it. Dombrowski announced he would like to mix in scouting and analytics when it comes to making decisions. That's fine with me. Even though I love the new era of baseball, I'm not saying it's the only way to win, but I am nervous thinking about how they tie both styles together.
Believes in power arms.
I am smiling from ear to ear. Are you serious? Pitchers who have velocity and can throw hard? Sign me up! I don't want to see Cole Irvin or anything close to that again. To be fair, Nick Pivetta and Vince Velasquez can throw hard, but they are not good enough. You need arms like Zack Wheeler to be successful these days and he casually threw in Mick Abel's name, the first-round pick of last year's draft. Does that mean he will look to trade him or he is intrigued by his skill set? Only time will tell, but Abel is definitely someone the team should keep an eye on. I wonder what this means for Spencer Howard, who got limited time last season before getting injured. Hopefully, Dombrowski's love for power arms will bring in more help over the next couple of years because the Phillies will need it.
There is flexibility to do it. Dombrowski is notorious for spending a ton of money and he's willing to go after the big names. Knowing that James McCann is a hot item for the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Angels, will that force Realmuto to look back at the Phillies? I personally don't want to sign him to a big deal considering his age and the current roster. I would like to use that money, Jake Arrieta's contract coming off the books, and other cash to look at shortstop, centerfield, catcher, and the bullpen. I think the "SIGN JT" crowd should realize there is a reason why McCann is being targeted over Realmuto by other markets. There is no reason to make a mistake with a Realmuto contract just because Sixto Sanchez looks to be stud. That's exactly what the Philadelphia Sixers did when they lost Jimmy Butler and traded a ton/signed Tobias Harris.
Top 3 starters.
Dombrowski mentioned having three starters. Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, and Zach Eflin. That's right. Zach Eflin. I am super intrigued for what he can do, but I wouldn't put him in the same category as the others. Last season, Eflin finished the year with a 3.97 ERA and a 4-2 record with a jump in strikeouts, finishing with a 10.7 strikeouts per nine. I like Eflin's role in more of that 4 or 5 spot in the starting rotation, but if they don't add anyone, he would make the most sense with Spencer Howard and Vince Velasquez possibly behind him.