Chaim Bloom looks out at Fenway Park on Monday after the Boston Red Sox announced he will be the team’s new chief baseball officer. Elise Amendola/Associated Press

Now the real work can begin.

On Monday, the Boston Red Sox introduced Chaim Bloom as their new chief baseball officer. Bloom will join Boston after 15 years with the Tampa Bay Rays, the only organization he has ever worked for.

The move has been universally lauded throughout the industry. Bloom is thought to be one of the game’s brightest young minds. He’s 36 years old and is said to understand all layers of a baseball operation – from analytics to scouting and development. People who know him says he has little to no ego, and is an executive who gets the most out of his staff.

It’s been seven weeks since the Red Sox dismissed Dave Dombrowski, the man who Bloom replaced. While there have been small internal moves, the organization has been somewhat stuck in neutral as it waited for a new leader.

Bloom is that leader – and he will have to hit the ground running. Things are going to start happening quickly in the offices at 4 Jersey St., with J.D. Martinez declaring his intentions to stay or go by the beginning of next week.

After that, the first order of business has to be solidifying the Mookie Betts situation. We all know Betts is entering the final year of his contract, and has reportedly turned down previous offers for a long-term deal.


We’ve known for a long time that this is the winter to lock up Betts or do the once unthinkable. Red Sox chairman Tom Werner told us towards the end of the season that “there’ll be a point where hopefully we can make a deal, or we’ll decide at that point what is Plan B or Plan C.”

In other words, signing Mookie is Plan A. Yet Bloom knows the team can’t overspend to do so. Plan B would be to trade him for the best return. Plan C, of course, is letting Betts play his final season with the RedSox before potentially moving on to the highest bidder.

With the Rays, Bloom was part of an organization that traded players at or near the peak of their careers in order to bring in new talent to keep the team competitive. One of the best moves they made came at the trading deadline in 2018 when they dealt homegrown ace Chris Archer to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows, and a player to be named later (Shane Baz).

It has been one of the most lopsided deals in the recent history of the game. Archer went 3-9 with a 5.19 ERA this season making $7.5 million. Meadows hit .291 and led the Rays with 33 home runs, 89 RBI and a .922 OPS while making the league minimum. Glasnow was an eye-popping 6-1 with a 1.78 for Tampa Bay before a forearm strain put him on the shelf. He returned to start two postseason games against the Houston Astros, all the while making $1.9 million.

Using Wins Above Replacement as a comparison, Meadows and Glasnow combined for a 6.3 WAR for the Rays this season, while Archer posted a 0.7 WAR for Pittsburgh. So Tampa Bay got a 5.6 WAR improvement – while saving about $5 million in 2019 payroll.

Those are the kind of deals the Sox hope Bloom can make as he looks to lower the team’s MLB-leading payroll while refreshing a depth chart that was gutted on the way to a 2018 championship. It’s a high-wire act that will be performed before an audience that expects nothing short of a championship.

Usually baseball execs come into situations where a complete rebuild is in order. Not at Fenway. The Red Sox are still the reigning world champs, at least for another day or two, and don’t have the patience for reconstruction projects.

Bloom is expected to build a contender now. And now that he’s here, that work can finally get under way.

Tom Caron is a studio host for Red Sox broadcasts on NESN. His column appears in the Portland Press Herald on Tuesdays.

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