Dave Dombrowski met with the press today and fielded questions for about an hour. Jaosn Beck, Tom Gage, and John Lowe had it covered. There is enough there to warrant about 6 posts worth of further explanation. But until that happens…
Dombrowski had a range of emotions about the situation, many were negative, but it wasn’t the first time he’s been in this situation in his 20 years as GM. It’s not surprising that he believes Cabrera will take the necessary steps. As for the question on whether he should have played Saturday night, that gets a little more gray. The response was:
“First of all, you have some legalities that are involved. You probably should know the rules when it comes to the Basic Agreement (the collective-bargaining agreement between the clubs and the players union).
“Secondly, we thought he was capable of going out there and playing.”
I admit to knowing nothing about the rules involved when a player has been drinking and is scheduled to play. I will say the answer was somewhat evasive in that they “thought” he was capable of playing. There was no comment on whether they thought they made the right decision.
Dombrowski said he was a “very good hitting coach” but he also made no commitment about the coaching staff remaining the same. I still think McClendon is gone. He could very well be a good hitting coach, but the players did not respond to him this year. Whether or not he knows what he’s doing becomes moot if it isn’t being translated to results.
Dombrowski also spoke of changing the team’s approach throughout the organization with regards to plate discipline (like increasing it). Toby Harrah is the minor league hitting coordinator so his job may be at stake as well, but when you’re talking about an organization wide change in philosophy that doesn’t bode well for the incumbent hitting coach. (I have a full McClendon post I’ve been working on for about 2 weeks so there is more coming).
The final likely dagger is probably that Dombrowski said he expects much of the offensive improvement next year to come from within, kind of like the expectation about pitching improvement going into 2009.
Dombrowski didn’t say much except to say he didn’t have a budget yet but that he can’t retain all the free agents. Beck astutely pointed out that Aubrey Huff and Jarrod Washburn are in that pool thought so he didn’t really tip his hand too much about the fates of Placido Polanco, Brandon Lyon, Fernando Rodney, and Adam Everett.
He did say that the team would likely use a rotation at the designated hitter spot which makes sense. No need to pay extra for DH’s when you have a couple on the roster already.
Okay, he didn’t say anything about Jim Leyland. But for those who think he should be fired Dombrowski said that he thought this was about an 86 win team. The team won 86 games. So in Dombrowski’s view they didn’t really under perform so I wouldn’t expect Leyland’s demise anytime soon.