Chaim Bloom was shown the door by Red Sox ownership last Thursday, September 14th with Sam Kennedy, the President and CEO of the Red Sox stating “I think we’ve always been consistent that trying to build, build that farm system, while winning at the major league level has always been a priority. Obviously, the last two seasons we haven’t been there, so a change was made”.
Chaim Bloom’s Red Sox have not seen much success at least to Boston sports fan's standards, with a record of 267-262, with two last-place finishes in three full seasons with a third on the way in 2023. 2021 was a bit of a flash in the pan with the Red Sox making it to the ALCS before losing to the AL-Champion Houston Astros. However, Chaim’s defining moment will always be trading Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Alex Verdugo, Connor Wong, and Jeter Downs.
Of course, this was not a trade made willingly by just Bloom, Bloom was likely directed by Red Sox ownership to make this trade happen to get under the luxury tax after being the highest-spending team in 2018 and 2019. Bloom also tacked on David Price with the Dodgers eating half of his $93 Million owed, which came at the cost of less talent being received in return. I could go on and on for days about this trade but the purpose of this discussion is whether or not Chaim Bloom deserved to be fired.
Chaim was brought in to get the Red Sox to cut expenses and get under the luxury tax, rebuild the farm system that Dave Dombrowski decimated, and put a competitive and winning team on the major league field. All three of these are hard to do simultaneously, with the best example being Bloom’s former organization the Tampa Bay Rays.
Chaim successfully achieved two of these three tasks. He cut spending, going from having the highest payroll in 2018 and 2019 to third in 2020 and 2021, 6th in 2022, and 13th in 2023. Of course, this isn’t exactly what Red Sox nation wants to see but was what ownership wanted. The farm system was Chaim’s largest accomplishment going from the worst-ranked farm system in baseball in 2019 to the 10th-best farm system in 2023. Chaim drafted and brought in talents such as Nick Yorke, Marcelo Mayer, Ceddanne Rafaela, and Roman Anthony. Chaim was also responsible for taking Garrett Whitlock away from the Yankees in 2020’s Rule 5 Draft and brought in the talent of Masataka Yoshida this offseason.
As discussed above, where the biggest questions come in are around Chaim’s ability to build a consistently competitive major league team with the Red Sox not even coming close to winning the A.L. East during his tenure in Boston with consistent defensive and pitching struggles. Chaim was called into question for not re-signing Xander Bogaerts this offseason, however, that may go down as one of the best moves Chaim made. Xander Bogaerts at 30 years old was given an 11-year $280 million deal by the Padres. The first year in which Xander has struggled to the tune of .279/.348/.433 with 18 home runs, 51 RBI an OPS+ of 117, a wRC+ of 119, and a fair WAR of 4.0 almost all of which are his lowest since 2017 (excluding the covid-shortened 2020 season). That contract is going to pan out as a disaster for the Padres.
However, who the Red Sox signed in place of Bogaerts, Trevor Story has been worse. Chaim signed Story to a 6-year $140 million contract before the 2022 season. Story has been consistently hurt since signing with the Red Sox, playing 128 total games to the tune of .223/.282/.399 with 18 home runs, 76 RBI, an OPS + of 85, a wRC+ of 100 in 2022 and 31 in 2023, while accumulating 2.2 WAR.
Pros of Firing Bloom
Bloom struggled especially with building a competitive pitching staff, signing the likes of Corey Kluber, and letting guys like Michael Wacha and Nathan Eovaldi walk.
Bloom struggled to field a defensively competent team culminating in -24 Defensive Runs saved in 2023, 0.65 errors per game, and a team fielding percentage of .982 (good for 23rd, 29th, and 29th in the league).
The Mookie Betts trade (not entirely his fault but the return was not great).
Trevor Story's signing is looking terrible.
That being said I am a member of the Bloominati and I believe Chaim Bloom was scapegoated by ownership. Chaim was the man with a five-year plan. He rebuilt the farm system and was finally going to be given the chance to spend this offseason. The secret weapon of the Houston Astros, the Tampa Bay Rays, and the Los Angeles Dodgers is not their ability to spend (although the Dodgers and Astros do it and they do it very well). It is their ability to churn out hometown talent like a factory assembly line. One player goes down and the Dodgers always have someone they can bring up to produce 2 to 4 WAR in a season. The Dodgers started the season without Walker Buehler, they lost Dustin May for the year, Julio Urias was placed on administrative leave and will likely never play in the MLB again, Noah Syndergaard was traded, Kershaw was hurt on and off, Michael Grove got hurt and still the Dodgers won their 10th division title in the last 11 years and are on their way to another 100 win season. This is what we were building towards.
Cons to Firing Bloom
Bloom rebuilt the farm system from 30th in the league to 10th.
Arguably successful results given the Red Sox were rebuilding (not successful enough for the Boston sports market).
Locked Rafael Devers up as the cornerstone for the franchise moving forward.
Succeeded at ownership's task of getting below the luxury tax and cutting spending, putting the Red Sox in a position to spend this offseason, something he has yet to be given permission to do.
Chaim’s successor could be poised to blow up the farm system in favor of an overly aggressive win-now strategy, continuing the first to worst cycle.
Since Theo Epstein was scapegoated after the historical choke job by the 2011 Red Sox, the Red Sox have gone through a violent cycle of worst to first that culminated in World Series wins in 2013 and 2018 at the cost of a solid farm system and continuous success. It seems the Red Sox are ready to do it again despite nearing that point of potential continued success. If the Red Sox bring in another Dombrowski type we maybe will have a shot at winning a World Series in the next couple of years at the cost of tearing apart the farm system and giving out more Chris Sale-like contracts and we will see you again in the same position 5 years from now.
You can follow Jay Rooney on Twitter @jvr1210