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Rolling In The Deep: A Look At Chaim Bloom’s Depth Moves, Part 1

Remember 2019, when Chaim Bloom was a young, spirited guy from Tampa’s front office and not an object contention? Let’s start reading into what he’s done since.

MLB: ALCS-Houston Astros at Boston Red Sox Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

They came (into low-leverage situations and made them even lower-leverage.)

They saw (their ERA rise two runs every outing.)

They conquered (half the map via frequent flyer miles between waiver claims.)

Introducing: a new series highlighting the success — or lack thereof — of Chaim Bloom depth piece pickups.

Whether you like Chaim Bloom or not, you have likely heard the term “depth piece” quite a bit in his tenure as Chief Baseball Officer for the Boston Red Sox. It’s a term that, at this juncture, makes many fans’ stomach turn, because it often translates to “white flag” when they come into a game, with some exceptions. It would be impossible to field a 40-man roster with 40 Shohei Ohtanis, or even 40 All-Stars, or even 40 replacement level players, and by that token, no team goes 162-0; there are bound to be some stinkers where you can stick development level players in, or, to be frank, innings/plate appearance eaters to have the high-leverage guys rest. But, to that respect, the less stinkers you have, and the less holes in your organizational depth, the better.

Boston fans know Chaim Bloom as the type of guy, frankly, to go low-risk/high-reward on the waiver wire, picking up guys with either versatility or potential to turn into an asset with minimal cost. So, how often have these guys panned out? And, almost as importantly, have they panned out with other teams, or other coaching styles? Let’s review with a little recap for every “depth” or “minor-league” player who has joined the 40-man roster since the beginning of Bloom’s time in Boston, beginning with his hire date of October 25, 2019. For brevity, I am only writing about players who have appeared in a considerable amount of Triple-A games for our organization, or another after leaving.

Today’s Edition: October 2019-January 2020

After an 84-win 2019 season, Dave Dombrowski, not even one calendar year removed from his Red Sox winning their fourth World Series of the century, was relieved of his duties. Chaim Bloom, Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations for the Rays was quickly pegged as his replacement in the front office. He had been with that organization since 2005, and was a finalist of many other job searches. At just 36, certain well-known Boston journalists were calling him the next Theo Epstein, as he had experience making a deep roster with less money, but what could he do with a bigger payroll? Without retroactively knowing how that would come as a detriment, the future was bright for the team.

Johan Mieses

Signed to minor-league deal, November 13, 2019

What did he do for us?

A towering figure, Mieses, the 265-pound outfielder, made it as far as Worcester as an everyday player from 2021 to 2022, but never cracked the Major League roster.

Where’s he been since?

He currently pays for the Hanshin Tigers of the Nippon Baseball League, and is batting .205 with 4 home runs in 97 plate appearances.

Josh Osich

Signed as free agent, December 4, 2019

What did he do for us?

Osich, a bullpen arm, pitched in thirteen games and started one in the shortened 2020 season, pitching to a 5.74 ERA before being traded at the deadline for RHP Zach Bryant, who’s currently on the 60-day IL for Double-A Portland.

Where’s he been since?

He’s retired as of a short-lived 2022 stint with the Cincinnati Reds and their Triple-A affiliate, the Louisville Bats.

Martin Perez

Signed as free agent, December 19, 2019

What did he do for us?

I apologize in advance, because this is going to be a sore subject. Perez came to us as a rotation guy and gradually lost that job thanks to a perfectly average 2020 season and a follow-up abysmal season in 2021.

Where’s he been since?

He went back to Texas, where he spent most of his career before the move to Boston, and all he did was pitch to a 2.89 ERA and All-Star appearance in 2022, no big deal. Told you it’d be sore. At least, this year, he’s back to usual form.

Chris Mazza

Claimed off waivers for the New York Mets, December 20, 2019

What did he do for us?

Started 6 of his 9 appearances in 2020 for Boston, pitching to a 4.80 ERA and 1.63 WHIP. Definitely not awesome, and that 24-36 record was indicative of it. He was then part of the trade that sent Jeffrey Springs to Bloom’s old stomping ground, netting us Nick Sogard and Ronaldo Hernandez, two guys who have a combined 1 day of MLB service between them.

Where’s he been since?

He pitched 27 Major League innings in 2021, but Mazza must have went back and forth between Tampa and Triple-A Durham two dozen times in 2021, no exaggeration, before Seattle picked him up off waivers in 2022. His most recent baseball experience was out in Mexico for the Saraperos de Saltillo, where he was released this past May.

Kevin Plawecki

Cleveland Guardians v Texas Rangers Photo by Ben Ludeman/Texas Rangers/Getty Images

Signed as free agent on January 2, 2020

What did he do for us?

Weck-dog! He was a better locker-room presence than a batter, and for that matter, a catcher. You scarcely hear a bad word about Plawecki’s demeanor from Red Sox players, or any players at all. He hit .270 on our roster, but most of that was due to a strong 2020 season where he also made some pitching appearances in some blowouts because, hey, it couldn’t get much worse!

Where’s he been since?

Plawecki has had 11 Major League plate appearances since being released by the Red Sox on September 19, 2022, all last year for Texas, and currently catches for the Padres’ Triple-A team. In an alternate universe, I’m sure he has Jorge Alfaro’s job and hairdo.

Jeffrey Springs

Traded to the Sox for Sam Travis on January 15, 2020

What did he do for us?

Unfortunately, his time in Boston was short-lived and filled with COVID regulations, as he pitched arguably the worst year of his career out of the bullpen. As I mentioned earlier, he was unceremoniously traded to Tampa along with Chris Mazza for some depth prospects... so you’ll read about them in, like, five installments of this, I’m sure.

Where’s he been since?

Gosh. Don’t you all read? He is still in Tampa’s organization and was one of the best starters in baseball last year. But this year he went down with an arm injury that necessitated Tommy John surgery. Won’t be seeing him for a while.

Matt Hall

Traded to the Sox for catcher Jhon Nunez on January 17, 2022

What did he do for us?

Oh, you know... low risk, low reward, turns into, quite literally, low reward. The lefty pitched to a 3.12. Doesn’t sound bad? Unfortunately, that was his WHIP in 2020. His ERA was approaching 20. 4 appearances, 1 start, multiple headaches for Ron Roenicke.

Where’s he been since?

He hasn’t pitched in the Major Leagues since, so at least he hasn’t gotten to hear any Fenway boos — or any boos outside of the MLPB, the only league where he might still be pitching.

And so began what has become a questionable tenure. I am going to save what happened on February 10, 2020 for next time, because I want to keep this under 1500 words. That fateful day brought a few Dodgers prospects named Jeter Downs, Alex Verdugo, and Connor Wong, but not for free. As we all know, that trade and its implications warrants a full article by itself, but we’ll sum up Bloom’s first three and a half months as: low consequence moves that carried much more weight after these players departed our organization. How could we have known better, could they have been coached better, and is the front office to blame for these botches? I’ve said enough for tonight, so I’ll leave the analysis to you all in the comments! Until next time.