Boston — Dave Dombrowski built World Series champions in Florida and Boston in a 40-year career in baseball and also helped the Detroit Tigers reach the Series twice.
He’s also pretty experienced at what happens after that.
The Red Sox parted ways with Dombrowski shortly after midnight Monday, less than a year after winning the World Series. In three years as the team’s president of baseball operations, he took the team from back-to-back last-place finishes to three straight AL East titles.
That reign could end as soon as Monday night with a loss to the New York Yankees in the series finale.
“Four years ago, we were faced with a critical decision about the direction of the franchise,” Red Sox owner John Henry said in a statement Monday. “With a World Series championship and three consecutive American League East titles, he has cemented what was already a Hall of Fame career.”
The news was first announced after a 10-5 loss to the Yankees while most of the city’s attention was focused on the New England Patriots’ season-opening victory over Pittsburgh and the unveiling of a sixth Super Bowl banner.
A statement emailed to reporters later Monday quoted the team’s top brass but said there would be “no formal media availability” to discuss the move less than a year after the team won the World Series.
It was nothing new to Dombrowski, who has also been fired from the White Sox and Tigers.
Dombrowski, who was with the Tigers from 2002-15, did not immediately respond to a text message seeking comment.
“Dave will hold a special place in franchise history as a key architect of one of the greatest Red Sox teams ever assembled,” co-owner Tom Werner was quoted as saying. “His willingness to make bold moves helped deliver our fourth World Series championship in the 21st century.”
A veteran baseball executive who worked in front offices in Chicago and Montreal before winning a championship in Miami and helping the Tigers win two AL pennants, the 63-year-old Dombrowski was brought in to steady the Red Sox front office in 2015 while the team stumbled.
The Red Sox followed with three straight AL East titles – a first in franchise history – and won a club-record 108 games last season en route to their fourth World Series championship since 2004.
But this year’s team – with largely the same roster as last year’s – has gone 76-67, losing five of their first six games and never really getting back into contention. While Dombrowski stood pat at the trade deadline, with a wild-card berth still in reach, the club went on an eight-game losing streak.
The Red Sox finished Sunday trailing the Yankees by 17.5 games in the AL East with 19 games to play.
“I just found out, so, surprised and shocked, obviously,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who was hired by Dombrowksi before the 2018 season. “He gave me a chance to come here and be a big league manager. It’s one of those that they just told me, so I’m not ready to talk about it.”
Right-hander Rick Porcello's career has been tied to Dombrowski's as much as any player. Dombrowski was the general manager of the Tigers when they drafted Porcello in the first round (27th overall pick) in 2007. Dombrowski traded Porcello to Boston in 2014, before following him in 2015.
Porcello, who took the loss against the Yankees on Sunday, and his teammates learned of the move as the game ended.
"I'm still processing everything, processing myself, too," Porcello said. "It's really hard to reflect on it right now. I'll have potentially a better answer in a couple days but, yeah, you never like to see anybody lose their job over what we're doing on the field. And unfortunately that's the case right here.
"You take lots of guilt with you as a player because you're the one that can make or break things and that's the part that hurts me."