When Dave Dombrowski was named president of baseball operations for the Boston Red Sox in 2015, his goal was to win a World Series. But while the 63-year-old accomplished that feat last season, he appears to be on the hot seat these days with the team underperforming.
"Well, I don’t want to say too much about it," Dombrowski told Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports. "But I am surprised. At least a little bit. I mean, we did win three divisions and a World Series."
After going 108-54 last year, earning the American League East crown, the Red Sox sit third in the division at 67-59 entering Tuesday's action. That places them 16 games behind the New York Yankees in the division and six games out of a wild-card spot.
After so much recent success, fans in Boston are not pleased with the results.
"This is a tough market. It’s been known as that," Dombrowski said. "Growing up in this game, I was always told there are three markets that are different than everywhere else: Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. And I’d have to say it's probably lived up to be true.
"If you don’t have thick skin, you’re not going to survive in this game. You won’t survive in this market for sure."
With the Red Sox floundering, some of Dombrowski's decisions are under the microscope.
Some critics wonder why he didn't re-sign two important pieces of last season's bullpen in Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly, while others have questioned long-term contracts given to pitchers Chris Sale and Nathan Eovaldi, who've both regressed this year while dealing with injuries. David Price's seven-year deal is still a point of contention among fans, and the farm system is largely bare.
For his part, Dombrowski understands the frustration around a team that's performing below recent standards.
"I know people wanted us to win, and we wanted to win, the expectations were there," he said. "It’s just a situation where you look back, somebody seems to get blamed for whatever happened. The fans have been great. And so has ownership. It’s just a (media) theme that always seems to take place.
"We haven’t played as well as we hoped, and people have problems with the decisions we made. I understand that. I guess that’s just the way it is."
Dombrowski's five-year deal with the Red Sox expires at the end of the 2020 campaign.