As someone covering baseball regularly for the first time, the trade deadline is my best friend. No ideas for my Tuesday morning feature? Why not speculate about the trade deadline? Pessimists will say blow it up, while optimists will say stay the course. I personally don’t think there is a “right” answer, because the actual outcome will probably lie somewhere in the middle.
Looking back on it, the 2022 deadline was both a success and a disaster. Chaim Bloom was very active, simultaneously buying and selling. He managed to add solid pieces in Reese McGuire, Enmanuel Valdez, and Wilyer Abreu for just Jake Diekman and half a season of Christian Vazquez, a success in my eyes. They also finished in last place and fell out of the playoff race immediately following the deadline, an objective failure. More importantly, Bloom didn’t receive anything in exchange for J.D. Martinez or Nathan Eovaldi, finished the season over the luxury tax threshold, and cost himself resources in the form of draft picks and international bonus pool money.
Bloom may be tempted to improve the 2023 team in July as he may be feeling the heat from ownership. He knows more about his job security than I do, but self-preservation could cloud his judgment. Either way, he should be able to learn from the 2022 deadline when planning his moves for this summer.
Lesson #1: Don’t Lease, Buy
What exactly was the point of adding Tommy Pham last year? After trading Christian Vazquez, it felt like the team was waving the white flag on the season by leaving a pretty glaring hole behind the plate and in the clubhouse. Of course, they added Reese McGuire later, but the 2022 Red Sox minus Christian Vazquez plus Tommy Pham and Reese McGuire was never a contender. I won’t sit here and tell you that Nick Northcutt is a future star, but why burn the prospect for half a season of a decent outfielder? Given the current standings and health of the team, it’s hard to justify spending on rentals.
Lesson #2: Address the Issues
By the time the All-Star game rolled around last year, the Red Sox were ninth in the league in save opportunities. They were also 25th in saves. For the 2022 Red Sox to contend, they needed to fix the bullpen. Getting a return for your assets is fine if that’s what you want to do, but by adding a rental outfielder and not getting below the CBT, it looked like the team wanted to continue to compete. By not adding to the bullpen, Chaim Bloom and company were destined to continue blowing leads and to fall out of the playoff picture.
Currently, the team has a very difficult time playing defense. If they want to compete this season, that should be something that’s addressed. If it’s in the form of Trevor Story, Yu Chang, or Pablo Reyes returning from injury, so be it. What Bloom shouldn’t do is sell a player like Adam Duvall for prospects, only to bring in Lucas Giolito for the next two months.
Lesson #3: Don’t Upset John
I seriously doubt Chaim Bloom has the authorization to go over the luxury tax threshold. I’m not here to watch John Henry’s pockets; we all know he can afford the tax bill even if he pretends he can’t. I also know, that if for some reason the team is above the threshold, it will be cited as a reason for not spending in the offseason. Bringing this team over the tax should be grounds to terminate Bloom immediately. If he’s incompetent to take advice from me, he may be dumb enough to be a big spender in the coming weeks. Chaim, if you’re reading this, here’s a friendly reminder to work with the accountants to make sure you stay within the budget.