After a doubleheader loss put them back into a tie for last place in the AL East, the Boston Red Sox fired GM Chaim Bloom after four years with the organization this morning. But was this really the right decision?
Evaluating The Chaim Bloom Era
After the doubleheader loss to the Yankees on Tuesday, the Boston Red Sox fell into a tie for last place in the AL East, putting them in position for their third last place finish in the division over the last four seasons. This being so close to the end, they looked to the offseason and fired their general manager Chaim Bloom this Thursday morning.
Bloom had a complicated tenure in Boston, taking over after a 2019 season in which the Red Sox World Series defense consisted of missing the playoffs. Ownership quickly asked him to trade a generational talent, Mookie Betts, as his free agency was coming up and they did want to pay him a record breaking contract. This was also right before COVID shortened the 2020 season, and things were as strange around baseball as they were in the real world. Let’s evaluate the tenure of Chaim Bloom.
Dismantling the World Series Core
When Bloom came in he took over for Dave Dombrowski, a guy with the reputation of taking big swings on high risk, high profile players. After building up the 2018 World Series team, Dombrowski gave out big extensions to Chris Sale, David Price, Nathan Eovaldi, and Xander Bogaerts, beefing up the payroll and emptying the prospect pool.
While this ended up with a World Series, the Red Sox quickly lost their depth and became very expensive. This means that with Bloom, ownership gave him one goal. Make the team cheaper, younger, and better developed.
While doing this may have been smart, it did not make Red Sox fans very happy, as the guys that led their contention in 2017 and 2018 were quickly shipped out of Boston. Mookie Betts and David Price were traded to the Dodgers in 2020. Andrew Benintendi and Jackie Bradley Jr. departed before 2021. Recently, fan favorite shortstop Xander Bogaerts left for the San Diego Padres in 2022 free agency.
Bloom was often criticized for not getting enough back for these guys, particularly Betts. The key pieces in return for Betts include Jeter Downs, who is no longer with the Red Sox organization and Alex Verdugo, who is a solid outfielder but not close to replicating Betts likely 2023 MVP season. The pitching staff struggled behind the injuries of Chris Sale, and there just haven’t been as many good players in Boston as fan favorites departed.
Building Up the New Era
To replace these guys, Bloom mostly focused on younger or more affordable options. Verdugo, Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida, and Dodgers veteran Justin Turner have been among the Red Sox best producers on offense this season. Mostly though, the key thing Bloom has done is build up the farm system, taking it from a dead last in baseball unit to top five in the league.
Key prospects like Marcelo Mayer and Kyle Teel should be up soon, and could give the Red Sox a big boost. Their only big contract was given out to Rafael Devers, who is a productive third baseman that is only 26, and a holdover from their last World Series. The future may be bright.
Despite this youth, a franchise like the Red Sox may not react so kindly to having to wait for their success. Yes, they might be good soon, but was it worth a five year run where they did nothing of note? Should a big market GM have built back quicker? The Red Sox were fairly decent this year, and adding some arms at the deadline could have put them firmly in the playoff hunt. It has to be asked whether punting the season was worth it.
Was This the Right Move?
This leads us to decide whether this was the right path for Red Sox ownership to take. Bloom had ups and downs, but ultimately did do what the owners asked him to. He cut payroll down and built up the youth movement, immediate winning aside. He also did take them to the ALCS in 2021, even though a lot of pieces from that year are already gone.
I think there is a chance they find a better GM, but ultimately would’ve been better off seeing what Bloom could do with what he has built up. Once you commit to a process, it’s better to see it through unless you see something way better, and Bloom might’ve been the guy to do that. It should be an interesting offseason in Boston.