Red Sox Bloom Baseball

Boston Red Sox baseball executive Chaim Bloom is shown before a June 23 game against Yankees at Fenway Park in Boston. AP photo

Chaim Bloom is out as the Red Sox’s chief baseball officer, and the way some people around New England reacted you’d have thought Boston ownership had torn down the Paul Revere statue and replaced it with a Waffle House.

Despite two (soon to be three?) last-place finishes in four years and despite one putrid deal after another (the Sox are paying Trevor Story $20 million a year to play like Deven Marrero? Really?), fans and media are acting as if we should be warming up the duck boats for the guy. 

(An aside: Funny how the Boston pundits give Bloom a free pass for being barely mediocre, but treat six-time Super Bowl-winning coach Bill Belichick as if he’s exporting weapons for Vladimir Putin. Guess that’s what happens when the owner of the baseball team also owns a significant chunk of the Boston media organizations.)

I have no idea why the “Bloomers” have developed such massive worship for him, but they keep trotting out the same tired arguments in his defense, all of which are patently false to anyone who stops to think about it for more than five seconds. 

Let’s look at the excuses, one at a time:

1) He was merely a hatchet man to do ownership’s dirty work (trading Mookie Betts, letting Xander Bogaerts walk).


Let’s face it: Sox owner John Henry is basically George Steinbrenner with a mute button. Just take one look at the discarded managers, executives — and, yes, World Series trophies — in his wake. There’s no question that he played a major role in the 2020 trade that sent Betts and David (Mr. Laughs) Price to the Dodgers for three beans and a magic cow. 

Betts had previously vowed he was going to test free agency after the 2020 season, only to sign a Godfather deal with the Dodgers amid the uncertainty of COVID-19. But as a recent MLB Trade Rumors post pointed out, Bloom’s return for Betts — mediocre outfielder/flake Alex Verdugo, infield bust Jeter Downs and serviceable catcher Connor Wong — is pretty meager, even if the Dodgers had wound up with only one year of Mookie.

As for Bogaerts, Bloom was the one who said over and over again that keeping the All-Star shortstop was priority No. 1. Well, reports said Bogie considered Boston’s offer “a slap” before he signed with San Diego, so he couldn’t have been as high a priority as extending Rob Refsnyder.

And if Bloom really was a puppet for management, what does that really say about his abilities? Maybe the Bloomers should instead credit Henry and pals for all of Bloom’s alleged “success.”

2) He was building an elite farm system. Maybe, maybe not. Baseball America ranked the Sox’s farm system fifth out of 30 teams; had it 16th. There’s no question it’s in better shape than it was before he got here and gives everyone even more reason to attend Sea Dogs games in the summer.

But let’s take a look at, the excellent site devoted to — you guessed it — Red Sox prospects. Using the 2-8 scale (2 is bad, 8 is great, don’t ask me why it isn’t 1-10), the top five Sox prospects — Marcelo Mayer, Roman Anthony, Miguel Bleis, Ceddanne Rafaela and Kyle Teel — rank about a 5 to 5.5, which Baseball America considers to be average to above-average. 


Do the Sox have some good players coming up? Yes. Anyone on a Betts or Bogaerts level? Probably not.

Another fault the Bloomers tend to overlook was Bloom’s obsession with toolsy depth pieces, which resulted in brainstorms like Andrew Benintendi-for-Franchy (“but he hits the ball so hard!”) Cordero. Depth guys are nice, but you can’t win a pennant without the big boppers and big arms.

3) It takes time to build a winner, so fans should expect to take some lumps along the way.

It has become accepted wisdom these days that a team must suffer several losing seasons, accumulating high draft picks along the way, before it can become a winner. The Cubs, Astros, Braves, Royals (briefly) and Orioles have all “tanked” their way to prosperity over the last decade.

But does it have to be that way? No, and the idea that you have to stink out the ballpark now in order to reap the big payoff in five years is a bunch of hooey.

If you’re the Boston Red Sox, who have enough money to buy and sell several micronations at the drop of a hat, you have the resources to build a farm system and keep the major league team competitive (and, while we’re at it, keep Mookie Betts swimming in cash). Previous World Series-winning baseball bosses Theo Epstein, Ben Cherington and Dave Dombrowksi sure as hell didn’t tank, so why should Bloom? 


Red Sox owner John Henry said when he hired Chaim Bloom as president of baseball operations the objective was to build stability. Since, the Red Sox have parted ways with stars Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts, and raised ticket prices. AP photo

Also, I don’t recall the Sox throwing games in order to draft stars like Betts, Jacoby Ellsbury or Jon Lester, or sign prized international free agents such as Bogaerts or Rafael Devers.

And why did the Sox have to take any steps backward in the first place? You always hear Henry and pals talking about wanting to build a team for the long haul. Well, they had that in 2018, when they won 108 regular-season games and the World Series, but suddenly felt the need to blow up the team in the best Charlie Finley-Wayne Huizenga tradition while the Bloomers cheered them on. 

4) But-but-but … 2021!! 

Ah, yes, the ALCS trip and “six outs away from the World Series,” as Dave O’Brien likes to remind us about once a week. But what did Bloom do after that successful season? Did he add parts to the existing bunch to make a World Series run in ’22? Of course not. 

He let pitchers Eduardo Rodriguez, Martin Perez and Adam Ottavino walk. He also decided that slugging outfielder/DH Kyle Schwarber wasn’t worth keeping (he promptly led the Phillies to the World Series and won the NL home run title) and traded outfielder Hunter Renfroe and his 31 home runs to the Brewers for the washed-up Jackie Bradley Jr. and a couple — wait for it — minor league depth pieces.

To the shock of no one, the Sox returned to last place in ’22. 

5) He needed just one more year to complete the turnaround.

And Cindy Blodgett needed just one more year to turn UMaine women’s basketball around in 2011. Puh-leeze.

Bloom seems like a nice guy, and I’m sure he won’t be out of work for long. But a successful baseball boss? That idea is no longer in, well, bloom.

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