For most of the 2014 and 2015 seasons, Boston Red Sox owner John Henry believed strongly that long-term, nine-figure contracts for pitchers in their 30s were bad business. But within three months of hiring Dave Dombrowski to run baseball operations, Henry spent $217 million for seven years of David Price.

Did something similar just happen with the Phillies?

After months of signaling — through the words of managing partner John Middleton and team president Andy MacPhail and the action of eliminating 81 jobs — a rollback of player payroll this year, the Phillies on Tuesday reached a five-year, $115.5 million agreement with star catcher J.T. Realmuto. Once the deal is finalized, pending a physical, it will mark the biggest payday for a free-agent catcher and eclipse by $100,000 Joe Mauer’s $23 million average annual salary, an 11-year-old record for catchers.

And one day after it all went down, a few rival team officials were wondering what changed and if there’s more spending to come.

Maybe Middleton and fellow owners Jim and Pete Buck have grown increasingly confident of being allowed to sell tickets to more fans for more of the upcoming season. Asked in October about retaining Realmuto, Middleton said “revenues determine what you can do and what you can’t do.” Throwing open the gates to Citizens Bank Park on opening day would enable the Phillies to do more.

But maybe Dombrowski, on the job six weeks, is already driving the Phillies’ owners to be more open-minded to moves they were previously uncertain about. He succeeded in doing that for years in Detroit and for much of his tenure in Boston.

“When you’ve been a general manager as long as Dave has been a general manager, you understand what it takes to win, what the roster makeup needs to be, what the organization needs to do overall,” said Frank Wren, Dombrowski’s friend and former deputy in Montreal, Florida, and Boston. “I think he understands that as well as anyone. He’s able to have the vision to see what he needs to accomplish the goal.”

Indeed, Dombrowski’s power of persuasion over late Tigers owner Mike Ilitch and Henry was enhanced by his track record for building winners, including a World Series champion with the Red Sox two years after they signed Price.

In that instance, Dombrowski and his staff made a presentation to Henry that offered scouting- and analytics-based arguments for signing Price to one of the largest contracts ever given to a free-agent pitcher. It’s not known whether Dombrowski compiled a similar pitch to Middleton regarding Realmuto.

But there has been a change in Dombrowski’s tone since his hiring. In his introductory news conference on Dec. 11, he characterized the Phillies as being in a “retool” phase that would take more than one year. Two weeks ago, he rejected the notion that 2021 will be a bridge season.

“There’s just too many good players on the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team to be thinking about transitioning,” he said. “We’re thinking about winning.”

In a vacuum, it made sense to bring back Realmuto. He’s the Phillies’ most indispensable player and the best in baseball at a position where they lacked alternatives. It helped, too, that former general manager Matt Klentak read the market perfectly. Klentak didn’t recommend increasing the team’s opening nine-figure offer from last March, and the Phillies didn’t have to overextend for Realmuto 10 months later.

But the Phillies weren’t a playoff team with Realmuto the last two years. By itself, his return doesn’t punch their ticket to October for the first time since 2011.

Some rival club officials are curious if keeping Realmuto is the precursor to additional moves, notably re-signing shortstop Didi Gregorius, acquiring another late-inning reliever, and adding a veteran starting pitcher such as Anibal Sanchez or Rick Porcello, both of whom pitched for Dombrowski in other places.

The focus shifts to Gregorius, in particular, because a previously frigid free-agent shortstop market shrank Tuesday with one-year signings of Marcus Semien, Freddy Galvis, and Andrelton Simmons by Toronto, Baltimore, and Minnesota, respectively. If the Phillies are outbid for Gregorius, two league sources suggested they could slide Jean Segura back to shortstop and pivot to a free-agent second-base group that includes Kolten Wong, Jonathan Villar, and Jonathan Schoop.

Wong, 30, would seem to fit well with the Phillies as both a left-handed hitter and a two-time reigning Gold Glove winner. The second-base market began taking shape last week when Enrique Hernandez signed a two-year, $14 million deal with the Red Sox and former Phillie Cesar Hernandez re-upped with Cleveland for one year and $5 million.

Opportunistic, low-cost moves are necessary for a Phillies roster that was too top-heavy under Klentak. But in the context of the fierce NL East, keeping Realmuto — at a time when Bryce Harper and Zack Wheeler are also making more than $20 million per year — also makes sense only if the holes around him are filled.

Maybe Dombrowski has already convinced ownership of that.