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How to Win the Chaim Bloom-Dave Dombrowski Debate (No Matter Which Side You’re On)

Because if you’ve been on Red Sox Twitter lately, you’re in the debate whether you like it or not.

The World Series starts tomorrow! Because the teams competing in the series are the Philadelphia Phillies of the National League and the Houston Astros of the American League, the fans of those respective teams are under the mistaken impression that this World Series is about them. LOL, that’s cute, guys, really. But come on, this World Series, as is the case with everything in the baseball world, is about us, the Boston Red Sox. Specifically, it’s about our former President of Baseball Operations, Dave Dombrowski (who now holds that title for the Phillies), and, by extension, the man who replaced him, Chaim Bloom.

As a fan of the Boston Red Sox, you are required to declare your support for one man or the other and, thereafter, to defend that man to the death. You must remain steadfastly blind to any and all mistakes your lord protector has made; you must refuse to acknowledge any and all successes your sworn enemy may have accidentally stumbled upon. You have no choice in this matter.

This is a stressful situation! But fear not, I am here to help. Whether you are a Dombrowski Defender or a Bloom Apologist, I’ve got you covered. Below, you’ll find detailed and irrefutable defenses to any argument your enemies may make. Remember, there is A LOT riding on these arguments. Exactly how much is riding on them? So much that I can’t even tell you, really, but, suffice it to say, your entire self-worth as a human being is at stake, actual lives are at stake, and, somehow, the situation in Ukraine even hangs in the balance. Yes, this argument is that important.

So read on and remember: no nuance, no surrender.

The Dombrowski Defender Crib Sheet

World Series - Boston Red Sox v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Five (G) Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

When a Bloom Apologist says:

It was necessary to trade Mookie Betts because (1) he was going to leave in free agency, anyway, and (2) the Red Sox needed salary relief from all the bad contracts that Dombrowski gave out.

You say: “First of all, at no point did Mookie ever say he wanted to leave Boston. In fact, he said precisely the opposite: that he enjoyed it here, that was expecting to play his entire career here, and that he was in the process of looking for a house. Are you calling Mookie Betts a liar? This is a man who, in the early morning hours after playing in front of a global audience in the World Series, declined to party it up at a club or go home to sleep, and instead, quietly and with no fanfare, brought food to the homeless people who lived on the streets outside the Boston Public Library. Have you ever done that? Of course you haven’t. I bet you cross the damn street when you see a person facing housing insecurity, you uncaring bastard. I bet you think they’re barely human, totally ignoring Charles Dickens’ timeless advice to open your shut-up heart and think of people below you not as another race of creatures, but as fellow passengers to the grave. Frankly, you deserve to spend the rest of your days alone and unloved.

But aside from that, if Bloom’s motivation for trading Betts truly was that he wanted to get something for him before losing him for nothing, then why the hell did he attach the David Price contract to the deal, thereby massively decreasing the return? And if, on the other hand, the motivation behind the deal was to get out from the Price contract, then why the hell did he attach the single best player the Red Sox had developed in 50 years to it? You’re telling me that the only possible way to get out of the Price contract was to deal a generational talent as well? The Mariners managed to trade Robinson Cano, didn’t they? He was older than Price, on an even bigger deal, and had just been suspended for goddamn steroids.

Bloom traded the second-best player in baseball and all he got was a league average corner outfielder, a guy who projects as a backup catcher, and a bust of a prospect who literally cannot put the bat on the ball. The deal is indefensible.”

When a Bloom Apologist says:

Dave Dombrowski leaves every organization he runs in shambles, with no payroll flexibility and a barren farm system.

You say: “Uhh, the Red Sox literally made the ALCS one season after Dombrowski was fired, and four of the top five players by bWAR on that team were holdovers from the Dombrowski era. It completely belies common sense to suggest that the team was ‘in shambles.’ Moreover, the 2019 Red Sox were the precisely the type of team that could afford to have a barren farm system for a season or two. In Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and Rafael Devers, they had a core of three potential Hall of Famers who were all 27-years-old or younger! You can take the time to rebuild the farm system when those guys are the heart of your lineup, and that’s precisely what Dombrowski was doing. How does it feel, knowing that the world would be better off if you didn’t exist?”

When a Bloom Apologist says:

Dave Dombrowski gutted the farm system, setting the team up for years of failure. Chaim Bloom has successfully and quickly rebuilt it.

You Say: “At this moment in time, 11 of the top 20 Red Sox prospects are players who were acquired by Dave Dombrowski, and that doesn’t even include Brayan Bello, who is no longer a prospect but who is the single most promising young pitcher the Red Sox have had since Jon Lester.

And even still, it’s not like Bloom has built some kind of elite player development machine. The Sox farm system is only ranked eleventh by Baseball America right now. Bloom has added depth, but the only high-end prospects he’s acquired are Marcelo Mayer, who he completely lucked into, and maybe Miguel Bleis, who is still a complete lottery ticket at this point. In an alternate, more sensible universe where three teams don’t inexplicably pass on the consensus best player in the 2021 draft, Bloom’s farm system looks awful, much like your stupid face.”

When a Bloom Apologist says:

Even if several of the top prospects are Dombrowski guys, they only blossomed under Bloom, who improved the player development and coaching program that Dombrowski ignored.

You say: “LOL, you don’t know jack shit about the inner workings of the Red Sox player development infrastructure and no one else does either. Don’t be an idiot.”

The Bloom Apologist Crib Sheet

When A Dombrowski Defender says:

Dombrowski won the division three straight years and put together the single greatest Red Sox team of all time in 2018. Jesus Christ, what more do I have to say than that?

You say: “Uh-huh, and then what happened? He made no effort to improve the 2018 team, instead saddling the franchise with a bunch of costly contracts that were obviously stupid at the time. He signed Chris Sale — whose skeletal structure is literally made of toothpicks — to a five-year contract. He re-signed Steve Pearce, a 35-year-old DH who averaged fewer than 1.0 bWAR the previous four seasons and didn’t even have a role on the team. He gave Nathan Eovaldi a four-year deal, which is two years for every Tommy John surgery Eovaldi’s had. I wish you would get surgery. . . on your brain!”

When A Dombrowski Defender says:

Dombrowki had the guts to make the big moves that the team needed. Bloom doesn’t — he’s too risk-averse to make crucial moves at the trade deadline.

You say: “At the deadline last year, Bloom traded for Kyle Schwarber. This is a player who, at the time, was on the IL and didn’t even have a position to play on the Red Sox. Can you even imagine all the performative howling we would’ve heard from Felger and Mazz if that deal didn’t work out? That move took a helluva lot more guts than trading for Steve Pearce did, that’s for sure, and it turned out to be a master stroke. I don’t want to hear the word ‘deadline’ come out of your mouth anymore unless it’s to say, uhhh, ‘Oh no, I’m dead! From, umm, too many lines of coke!’ Okay, I know that was bad. Come back to me, I’ll come up with something better.”

When A Dombrowski Defender says:

All Bloom does is dumpster-dive. He doesn’t want to win the sensible way, which is by paying good players the money they deserve.

You say: “First of all, ‘dumpster-diving’ is an extremely important component of roster construction that arguably won the 2004 World Series for the Red Sox. What do you call Theo Epstein’s acquisition of Kevin Millar, who was on his way to Japan because no one else wanted him? How about Bill Mueller, who had so little market value that Theo signed him in 2003 for over a million dollars less than what he made in 2002? I mean, have you even heard of one DAVID AMERICO ORTIZ?!?!?

But moreover, it’s not even true that this is all Bloom does. He literally signed Trevor Story just this past offseason! He’s also gone on record in saying that he does plan on being a major player in the free agent market, but that he’s been waiting for the right time when the farm system is strong enough to supplement a big money roster with cost-effective young talent. You can disagree with that premise if you want, but it’s not fair to call him cheap. And let’s address the elephant in the room here: all this talk about Bloom being ‘cheap’ seems to be tinged with more than a little anti-semitism, which, given the history of race relations in Boston, is not a good look. If you disagree with me, then you are basically Kanye West.”

When A Dombrowski Defender says:

Dombrowski would have never let the team start the year with someone like Bobby Dalbec as the everyday first baseman, he would have gone out and paid for a proven big leaguer.

You say: “Speaking of deadlines, you’ve missed the deadline on becoming smart! Boom! Told you I’d come up with something good.

Anyway, did you even watch the Red Sox last year? If you had, you would know just how good Bobby Dalbec was in the second half. He had a .955 OPS in the second half in 2021! He was in the 98th percentile for barrel rate on the year! There was plenty of evidence to suggest that he would be a more than capable Major League first baseman, and even if he didn’t, an uber prospect named Triston Casas was waiting in the wings. It was perfectly reasonable for Bloom to stick with what he had at first, based on the information he had available to him at the time. Sure, Dalbec ended up falling off a cliff and Casas battled numerous injuries that delayed his promotion, but no one saw either of those things coming. You know what I wish I didn’t see? You, because you’re ugly.”

So there you go, everything you need to completely destroy your enemies, whoever they may be.

And remember: as you debate the luxury tax, and payroll flexibility, and “financial sustainability,” the absolute most important thing to do is to not even question why any of those things even matter in an industry that raked in $9.56 billion in revenue in 2021. You must never question why Red Sox owner John Henry insists on resetting the luxury tax, even though the team he bought for $380 million is now worth approximately $4 billion. You must ignore the facts that, even as MLB revenues rise, the share of player salaries continues to drop, that fewer and fewer teams are even trying to compete, that the luxury tax is an unnecessary system of soft collusion, and that the post-Moneyball generation of fans have basically been trained to believe that it’s morally superior to root for a team that successfully exploits its players.

As long as you’re arguing about Dave Dombrowski and Chaim Bloom, then you’re probably not thinking about any of that. And with that in mind, from John Henry’s perspective, they’re both great at their job.