Dave Dombrowski is noted for being baseball’s youngest general manager when he was hired into that role by the Expos in 1988 and for working for John Henry — now twice.
Working for John Henry again
Dombrowski was general manager of the Marlins when Henry bought the team in 1999. Dombrowski departed in 2001 for the Tigers, and Henry led the group that bought the Red Sox in 2002. “I have known Dave very well for a long time. [Chairman] Tom [Werner] and I have no doubts that Dave is the right person to strengthen our baseball operations group going forward,” Henry said in a statement Tuesday night.
A young GM
Dombrowski was named general manager of the Montreal Expos in 1988 when he was 31, the youngest-ever GM in the major leagues at that time. Since then, other teams have brought in GMs who were even younger, including the Red Sox, who named Theo Epstein general manager in November 2002 when he was 28.
Dombrowski makes big moves, in the trade market and through free-agent signings. And he builds winning teams. The 1989 Expos, when he was general manager, made a run at the playoffs before falling short. His Marlins won the World Series in 1997, in only their fifth season. Dombrowksi twice acquired Miguel Cabrera, one of the game’s best hitters, signing him as an amateur free agent in 1999 and trading for him in 2007. He acquired ace pitcher Max Scherzer through a trade before the 2010 season. He traded for pitcher David Price last season to bolster the Tigers’ playoff chances, although Detroit lost to Baltimore in the Division Series.
Not all those moves work out
Dombrowski traded Randy Johnson from the Expos to the Mariners for Mark Langston in 1989. Johnson became a 300-game winner who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in July. Dombrowski signed Prince Fielder to a nine-year, $214 contract before the 2012 season with the Tigers. Detroit lost in the World Series that season to the Giants, and Fielder’s contract was a burden. He was traded to the Rangers for Ian Kinsler in 2013. Dombrowksi traded Price and other players this season as Detroit faltered, and in August, Dombrowski himself was gone from the Tigers.
He took apart a winning team
Dombrowski builds winning teams, but he dismantled one after the Marlins won the title in 1997. Team owner Wayne Huizenga mandated that expensive veterans be let go in a cost-cutting measure, and the Marlins were below .500 during Dombrowski’s remaining time with the team.