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Mike Shalin's Working Press: Dombrowski went to Florida and all we got was ...

By MIKE SHALIN
December 15. 2017 12:52AM
Boston Red Sox general manager Dave Dombrowski during the MLB winter meetings at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort on Thursday. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)



PATIENCE. We hear it’s a virtue.

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski left the Winter Meetings in Orlando, Fla., with little more than the chocolates (we assume in the shape of dolphins, given the name of the resort) left on his pillows. But this offseason is a long way from being over.

And Dombrowski, one would think, is a long way from being done.

The Winter Meetings, once a time of wheeling and dealing with people like Whitey Herzog and Trader Jack McKeon trying to swap anything that wasn’t nailed down, have become empty, disappointing. The days of late-night news conferences to announce trades are long gone.

Different times call for different strategies, and Dombrowski ended the week with reported interest in adding BOTH J.D. Martinez and Eric Hosmer — even though we have no idea how it all fits with Hanley Ramirez still in the picture.

The Red Sox were also one of a few teams in on Eduardo Nunez, who played well in Boston before getting hurt. Also, the Yankees want to bring him back home.

The dreaded Yankees have been the stars of the offseason to date, not only acquiring Giancarlo Stanton but also freeing $13 million by sending Chase Headley on to San Diego (the Padres are now shopping him as well).

Manny Machado? The feeling here is that the Orioles will move him. The Yankees have the prospects required but it’s doubtful O’s owner Peter Angelos would move him to New York.

When the Mets acquired George Foster from the Reds all those years ago, they had a 72-hour window to sign Foster to a contract before the deal became official.

That is not the case here so a deal for Machado means you would get him for a year.

Back to normal

It doesn’t take a hoop genius to realize the Celtics are a better team with Kyrie Irving on the floor. That was very much in evidence in the difference between the games played Monday and Wednesday.

Irving is not only great, but he has this built-in ability to make shots when they count. Difficult shots? Easy shots? Doesn’t matter. He may think the Earth is flat, but his game rarely is.

He had 33 Wednesday night, but mark this down: Shane Larkin was a hero in that game. He scored nine points in a 2:36 span of the second quarter and then keyed the rally early in the fourth quarter. His energy has been a great find for Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens. Speaking of Wednesday night, the Celtics shot 59.5 percent from the floor, their highest FG percentage since nailing 60 percent against Orlando Nov. 11, 2013.

Jayson Tatum shooting update: He ended Wednesday’s game shooting 50.7 percent from the floor, 50.5 percent from 3-point range.

KG weighs in

In a wide-ranging interview with Michael Pina of Vice Sports, Kevin Garnett made it clear he’s still close to his old teams (not the Minnesota management) and lavished praise on the Celtics.

“As part of Celtic tradition and being part of Celtic history, I’m very prideful sitting back and watching what they do, and more importantly how they play,” Garnett said. “If you watch Celtics basketball over the years, it’s just very consistent with how Brad has his team with the history of how Red (Auerbach) and how Doc (Rivers) and how coaches have come in and tried to have the same consistency throughout. It doesn’t shock me when you know Brad Stevens’ system and his pedigree, where he comes from.

“It doesn’t shock you. But when you see how they’ve rallied around (Gordon) Hayward’s injury and been able to put games together, hell yeah they’re gonna be a force to be reckoned with in the end, and I think it’s gonna be Cleveland and Boston in the conference finals to be able to dictate who represents the East. And I think it’s gonna be one to where it’s unprecedented. And I don’t think we can all guess. I think it’s just gonna be one where we gotta sit back and enjoy it.”

“But I’m not shocked. I’m very proud because I come from that same pedigree ... I like how that team is built up. Obviously the head of the snake is Kyrie, and he’s leading them by example and I love it, and the dynamic seems to be cool, but I love more the progression of the younger guys, having a chance to play in real games, real experiences. No practice will ever give you that, so the fact that they’re growing up before our eyes is something special and I think we all need to have our eyes pinned to the television and to the season, with their progression.”

Special deal

Sometimes, trades and moves are made as much to help a player. This week, the Cardinals sent outfielder Steven Piscotty to Oakland, where his mom has been diagnosed with ALS.

“You are never making a player trade simply for geographic or sentimental reasons,” said John Mozeliak, the Cardinals’ president of baseball operations. “It had to be something that made sense for us. There were certainly some opportunities to move him elsewhere. When you are looking at how to break a tie, clearly that did play into it.”

Triple doubles

We told you here the other day Rajon Rondo recorded a triple double for a fourth team this week. Then, Russell Westbrook topped that news with a triple double Wednesday night (on a night he shot 3-for-17 from the floor).

For Westbrook, it was the 35th TD of the calendar year 2017, breaking Oscar Robertson’s 1961 record for a calendar year. Westbrook still has 10 games left until the end of the year.

The Big O averaged a triple double in 1961-62 and came close in both the year before and year after. Westbrook did it last year — 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds, 10.4 assists — and has a shot at it again. He finished Wednesday at 22.6/9.4/9.9.

Not sure if it had an effect on the election, but it was neat seeing Charles Barkley on the campaign trail late for Doug Jones. Sir Charles felt it would have been embarrassing for the people of his home state to elect … well, you know the rest.

Puck talk

Matt Beleskey and his disastrous Bruins contract were placed on waivers Thursday — there’s two years left at $3.8 per year on the cap left. … Brandon Dubinsky had his orbital bone broken in a fight Wednesday night. … Tip of the helmet to Jack Parker, Scott Young, Ben Smith, Ron Wilson and NHL linesman Kevin Collins on their inductions to the US Hockey Hall of Fame. … Add NHL Hall of Famer Luc Robitaille’s wife to the list of accusers of the current resident of the White House.

Here and there

Devin McCourty on the Patriots’ addition of Kenny Britt: “He’s a Rutgers guy. Do we need to expand on that? We know what that means.” … New Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire on last year as the Diamondbacks’ bench coach: “We had a really good baseball team. As most managers will tell you, our job is not to screw it up. Torey (Lovullo) did a good job of not screwing anything up.” … More Gardenhire, to Fangraphs.com’s Dave Laurila: “You know what, if the team (stinks), you fire the manager... I mean, when we started playing bad in Minnesota, they made a change. We had a lot of good years, but obviously, they needed a new voice. I felt that way too.” … Finally, Justin Verlander tweeting on fellow former Tigers Alan Trammell and Jack Morris making it to Cooperstown: “Congratulations to Alan Trammell and Jack Morris on the HOF induction! Been a long time coming imo (in my opinion). So happy for them both!”

Mike Shalin covers Boston pro sports for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email address is shalinmike@yahoo.com.


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