BOSTON — After another rudderless loss to the Yankees, the Red Sox threw their captain overboard.
Just after midnight, the Red Sox fired president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, whose contract wasn't set to expire until after the 2020 season. He's less than 11 months removed from bringing a World Series to Boston, but the Sox are likely to miss the playoffs altogether this October.
Alex Cora addressed the team after tonight's 10-5 loss to the Yankees, as both he and his players were jarred by the late-night move.
"Surprised, I’m shocked, honestly," Cora said. "Right now I don’t have too much to say. We’ll talk about it tomorrow. This is a guy that gave me a chance to come here and be a big league manager."
Rick Porcello, who was tagged for six earned runs in the loss, explained what it feels like to get news like that from a pitcher's perspective.
"You take an ounce of guilt with you as a player because you're the one that can make or break things," Porcello said. "That's the part that hurts. But at the end of the day it's a business decision and it's completely over my head."
J.D. Martinez has quite a bit of personal history with Dombrowski.
After the Astros designated him for assignment in 2014, it was Dombrowski that took a flier on Martinez and gave him a second chance.
“Dave, he gave me an opportunity in Detroit and now he gave me an opportunity here," Martinez said. "He’s always been a friend to me. We obviously got along great. Obviously I’m sad to see him go. It’s just wild.”
The Red Sox haven't decided on a replacement, and for the remainder of the season, assistant general managers Eddie Romero, Brian O'Halloran and Zack Scott will split the duties.
Dombrowski's successor will be tasked with making a crucial decision on Mookie Betts, as the reigning MVP is set to hit free agency after 2020. But Betts was adamant his outlook will remain the same, regardless who shows up at the negotiating table.
"It doesn't really matter who's there, it's going to be the same answer," Betts said. "Nothing's gonna change. This is proof that this is a business. Like I said, I love it here but definitely this is still a business."
Martinez, who could opt out at the season's end, expressed a similar sentiment.
"Obviously, got to go talk to Scott (Boras)," Martinez said. "See what he says. I don’t know enough about that side of the game to get into it.
Dombrowski was hired in 2015, handed a middling team with a strong farm system, and didn't hesitate to deal prospects for Chris Sale, Craig Kimbrel and others.
Ultimately, he won three division titles and a World Series, but in 2019 Dombrowski outspent everyone else in baseball by a wide margin and his team is likely to finish third in the AL East.
With his lame-duck year looming, ownership opted for a new direction, one we'll learn more about in the coming months.
Chris Mason is a Red Sox beat writer for the Eagle-Tribune and CNHI Sports Boston. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter at @ByChrisMason