Phillies officially hire Dave Dombrowski as president of baseball operations

Dave Dombrowski and the Phillies
The Phillies are restructuring their front office, and Dave Dombrowski is the newest addition, officially joining the club on Friday as their first-ever president of baseball operations. 

Dombrowski, 64, brings an impressive resume to Philadelphia. He first won a World Series in 1997 with the Florida Marlins, then won another in Boston with the Red Sox in 2018. He also was the architect of the Montreal Expos in the early 1990s and rebuilt a Detroit organization that won 43 games in 2003 into a two-time American League pennant winner. 

"Between David and (manager) Joe Girardi, we now have two of the best people in place to set us on the path back to where we want to be, and that is the postseason and contending for world championships," said managing partner John Middleton. 

Dombrowski emerged in October as a potential candidate to replace Matt Klentak but was unwilling to commit to a role with another organization given his involvement in trying to bring an expansion club to Nashville. He learned over the last few days, however, that MLB's timetable for expansion didn't align with his original expectations. Middleton was in touch again over the last week in another attempt to entice Dombrowski, and with the Nashville proposal off the table, it worked. 

There are questions to be answered. Dombrowski said he isn't sure at this point if he's going to bring in a general manager, but he recognizes the Phillies have some holes to fill. 

“I consider this a retool and not a rebuild, for sure,” Dombrowski said. “I think there are too many good players on the club. We have a star player in right field in Bryce [Harper] and some other good players around him, and any time you have three good starting pitchers like we have at the top of the rotation, you’re in pretty good shape to be competitive." 

Dombrowski also said he believes the club is more than a single piece away from serious contention and expects the payroll for this coming season to be below where it was last year. It's been reported that the organization lost $150 million because of the pandemic and lack of fans in 2020. 

"I know John wants to win," Dombrowski said. "I know we have the flexibility of finances -- but when I say that, I don’t think it’s an unlimited amount of funds. We want to win this year; we’ll do what we can. But it’s more important that we build an organization that can be competitive year in and year out -- that will be the focus in addition to trying to win this year. I really don’t want to be sacrificing people that might be part of our future success for short-term gains if it’s not the difference-maker in trying to be a championship club." 

Dombrowski will have some franchise-defining decisions to make in the coming weeks. J.T. Realmuto has hit the open market and is eyeing a massive deal. The bullpen appears to be a near-total rebuild, the farm-system is considered one of the weakest in baseball, and the starting rotation has more questions right now than answers. 

"We all want to win, but you also don’t want to just do things that sacrifice you long-term unless you think you’re a championship-caliber club," Dombrowski said. 

"It’s too early for me to answer that question yet, but I don’t think from my conversations with anybody here that anyone thinks we’re only one player away. We have some holes to plug. "Do we want to win? Yes, but there are some good clubs in our division. We have a lot of nice pieces to win, but we’re going to have to do some other things to make us successful."
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BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor

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