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Red Sox owners told Dave Dombrowski not to trade top prospects, per report

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Apparently ownership wants to keep what’s left of the farm

MLB: Winter Meetings Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox had a relatively quiet trade deadline this year, at least in terms of what they gave up. The team picked up extremely useful players in Eduardo Nuñez and Addison Reed, but since they are both set to hit free agency at the end of the year neither cost Boston anything close to a top prospect. According to a report from Boston Sports Journal’s Sean McAdam, this was by design. McAdam’s sources tell him that ownership told Dave Dombrowski not to deal any of the team’s top prospects this summer.

If true, this is interesting on a few levels. For one thing, it’s always interesting when ownership gets involved at this level of the day-to-day operations, particularly since this kind of input rarely goes well for any team in professional sports. Furthermore, we all know what Dombrowski has done to the farm system, so it’s understandable that the team wants to hold on to what young talent it has left. That being said, it’s hard not to trust Dombrowski with the task of trading prospects. The deals he has made so far, while steep in price, have worked out for the most part. The one trade that does look bad right now — the Tyler Thornburg trade — didn’t involve top prospects. That is unless you, like me, believe Mauricio Dubon is the greatest baseball player of all time.

That part of this story that I’m most interested in — again, assuming it’s true — is what exactly the team considered to be a top prospect. If all they said was to hold on to Rafael Devers and Jason Groome, it’s hard to be too upset about it. There really wasn’t a player the Red Sox would have traded for that would have cost that, but I’d be fine with even taking that temptation away from Dombrowski. If they extended it to the Michael Chavis/Sam Travis tier, I could see it having a bigger effect on the deadline. If those players were indeed off-limits, that’s likely why we didn’t hear more rumors about them targeting someone like Justin Wilson or other players with multiple years of control.

The reason I keep saying “if it’s true” is not to diminish McAdam’s report at all. He is one of the best and most respected writers and reporters on the beat, and I have no reason to doubt his reporting on this matter. That being said, it’s worth noting that Dombrowski himself was asked about this on WEEI this morning and he refuted the report.

I’m not sure what else he’s supposed to say about this, though. I certainly couldn’t see Dombrowski openly admitting it if it truly were the case. Either way, I don’t see this as a huge deal and in McAdam’s report he made clear it wasn’t a major point of contention between the two sides anyway. Still, it’s always interesting to get something of an inside look at how things are done in the front office.