Dave Dombrowski was caught dipping his hand in too many cookie jars, and in the end, it cost him his job. The former Tigers executive was let go earlier this month, this after leading Detroit to four consecutive AL Central division titles.
“What he was essentially doing was talking to any number of clubs,” former Tigers pitcher Denny McLain said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “And listen, the world of baseball, especially at the ownership level, is a very small group. We’re only talking (about) really 32 icons who own baseball teams, so what you’ve got is you’ve got a guy who thinks he’s bigger than the game because he’s had some success in a couple of places with World Series – and that’s great success. But he came over here and he really didn’t have success.”
Aside from the four division titles, four ALCS appearances and two AL pennants.
“We were playing in the worst division in baseball for three, four, five, six years, and so it was kind of easy if you spent $180, $190 million every year and you go get some players,” said McLain, the last major leaguer to win 30 games in a season. “We weren’t developing anybody, we weren’t fundamentally trying to develop anybody, we weren’t doing anything with our minor leagues. Sooner or later, you can only trade for so many people and older guys if you have some talent in the minor leagues. He bled our minor leagues. He got rid of our kids. He got rid of the kids who had some real talent, and he traded them for players that are much older. Hell, we had one starter the other night who was 39 years old.
“That’s Dombrowski,” McLain continued. “His schtick is to go in and get rid of the talent by making trades and what have you – and he was relatively successful. But by the time he leaves or is asked to leave or told to leave, he’s really – for lack of a better term – raped and pillaged the village. This is just another example of it. Everybody knew this day was coming, but what happened is he got caught talking to too many teams and one of those icons said something to somebody, and almost in the middle of the night, (Mike) Ilitch found out abut it, called him and said you need to hit the door and don’t look back and don’t say goodbye.”
Two weeks after getting fired by Detroit, Dombrowski was named President of Baseball Operations for the Boston Red Sox.
It certainly didn’t take him long to find work.
“It sure didn’t take him long at all,” McLain said. “If Henry lets him do what he wants to do, I would suspect it could happen next year. I don’t think Boston’s that far way, to be honest with you. They just need something that most clubs need: they need a little better pitching. But they play well in their own ball park; they put people on the field in Boston that will play well in their ballpark. They grow guys to play there. I suspect if he gets used to that real quick, they could have some pretty quick success. I would say two years.”