The Phillies have agreed to a three-year contract extension with president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, reports Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia (Twitter links). He was already signed through 2024, meaning Dombrowski will now run baseball operations in Philadelphia through the 2027 season. The team announced the extension shortly after Salisbury’s report.
Hired as the first person to ever hold the “president of baseball operations” title for the Phillies back in 2020, Dombrowski is now set to be entrenched atop the Phillies’ baseball operations hierarchy for another half decade.
It’s been a short but thus-far successful run for Dombrowski, even if a majority of the Phillies’ 2022 World Series roster — including Bryce Harper, Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, Ranger Suarez, Rhys Hoskins, Jean Segura and Seranthony Dominguez — was inherited from the previous regime. Dombrowski was running the ship when the team agreed to re-sign the catcher JT Realmuto to a five-year contract, and the first year of his four-year investment in Kyle Schwarber has paid considerable dividends. Trades made to acquire Jose Alvarado, David Robertson, Kyle Gibson, Garrett Stubbs, Noah Syndergaard and Edmundo Sosa have all worked out well thus far.
Beyond the players on the field, Dombrowski deserves credit for the leadership placed around them. The decision to fire veteran manager Joe Girardi, who was hired as skipper before Dombrowski joined the organization, and replace him with bench coach Rob Thomson was likely not one that was made lightly. Dombrowski also brought hitting coach Kevin Long into the fold in the 2021-22 offseason and has already extended him through the 2025 season.
As with any baseball operations leader, Dombrowski’s tenure in Philadelphia contains its share of both hits and misses. A two-year deal to re-sign Didi Gregorius proved regrettable, and the free-agent moves made to address the bullpen (Jeurys Familia, Brad Hand, Archie Bradley, Corey Knebel) haven’t panned out as hoped.
Looking specifically at last year, the Phils entered the 2021-22 offseason with glaring holes both at shortstop and in center field, and neither was addressed heading into the 2022 season. Rather than addressing those areas and looking to improve a team known as one of the worst defensive clubs in the league over the past ten years or so, the Dombrowski-led Phillies instead inked Schwarber and Nick Castellanos to long-term contracts, committing to playing one in the field full-time in the process. Now, with Harper set for elbow surgery and likely in need of increased DH time in 2023, both Castellanos and Schwarber will again be thrust into regular defensive work. Castellanos’ first year with the Phils was a disappointment, and he’ll be looking for a rebound effort in 2023.
At shortstop, Dombrowski bucked the “farm system destroyer” narrative and held onto a top prospect Bryson Stott, giving him a chance at the everyday job even in spite of a stacked free-agent class of shortstops last winter. Stott didn’t hit much and looked better at second base than at shortstop, though, and the Phillies now seem poised to be players in what is again a deep collection of shortstops.
Still, the decision to hang onto Stott and top pitching prospects Andrew Painter, Mick Abel and Griff McGarry runs somewhat counter to Dombrowski’s prior penchant for aggressive trades that thin out the top end of a farm system in the name of win-now moves. The only truly high-end prospect he’s traded away is catcher Logan O’Hoppe, who was facing a Realmuto-sized roadblock to playing time in Philadelphia. That swap brough Brandon Marsh to the Phils, and the early returns during the regular season were strong: Marsh slashed .288/.319/.455 with the Phillies, and the hope is that he can hold down the fort in center field on a long-term basis.
Setting aside the dissection of Dombrowski’s transactions in a still relatively limited tenure with the organization, it’s clear that owner John Middleton is comfortable working with Dombrowski and believes he and GM Sam Fuld are the right pairing to continue guiding the Phillies’ World Series aspirations. Dombrowski has won World Series titles with two different organizations and has now overseen World Series berths with a whopping four organizations. That type of success across multiple franchises is generally unparalleled, and Dombrowski now potentially has five more opportunities to secure his third World Series ring with his third different organization.