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Monday Morning Brushback: Every New Beginning

The Red Sox week in review dives into Chaim Bloom’s pros, Chaim Bloom’s cons, and his ultimate legacy.

A Day Shadowing Red Sox CBO Chaim Bloom Photo by Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Welp, how was your week?

I guess it’s my turn to write about the Chaim Bloom news. I could do a typical summary of some of the key players that stood out to me over the last seven days, but with the team out of the playoff run and perhaps the biggest development of the entire 2023 season still fresh on our collective minds, I feel compelled to make this an entire article dedicated to the firing of Bloom—I hope you aren’t sick of these type of write-ups yet!

The announcement of his ouster this past Thursday has had Red Sox Nation in a tizzy. Some people were disappointed to hear that he wouldn’t be seeing out his entire vision, others were overjoyed to hear that the team would be moving—as John Henry put it in a statement (because he most certainly wasn’t there in person to say it himself)—in “a new direction.”

Put me somewhere in the middle camp. Maybe that’s a wishy-washy answer, and maybe you think I’m a bit of a coward for sitting on the fence, but I do understand all aspects of the fallout from Bloom’s dismissal. I’ll try to outline all of that here. Whether or not you ride with me on the matter, well, that’s up for you to decide.

It’s Monday Morning Brushback time, y’all.

On One Hand...

Spring Training Grapefruit League Media Day Photo by Mike Carlson/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Chaim Bloom walked into an interesting situation when he was hired as Chief Baseball Officer for the Red Sox in October of 2019. I like to imagine he walked into his office on the first day and saw a message from Henry up on the bulletin board with a push pin: “trade Betts, get under the tax threshold, rebuild the farm, spend efficiently.”

He certainly tried to accomplish all of that. Mookie was flipped to LA, the Red Sox will enter 2024 without any CBT penalties in place, there’s a solid group of youngsters making their way up to the big club, and Bloom tried taking his shots to find diamonds in the rough.

To his credit, some of those bets hit! Garrett Whitlock has been a steady Eddie since being selection in the Rule 5 draft back in 2020. Kiké Hernández’s tenure with the Sox didn’t end the way anyone had hoped, but his contributions in 2021 can’t be overlooked. In that same year, buying relatively low at the deadline on a then-injured Kyle Schwarber injected some great power into a lineup for a team that came two wins away from another American League pennant. Justin Turner has been a breath of fresh air this season.

No matter how you feel about the guy’s track record over the last few years, you’ve got to admit that—at least in regards to the human element—it’s cold to dump the guy who came in and did what the ownership group asked of him at first. Chaim won’t be able to see the fruits of his labor come into full... Bloom... after being shown the door.


On The Other Hand...

Boston Red Sox Spring Training 2023 Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

I mean, the record speaks for itself, doesn’t it?

Take out the fantastic 2021 season and what do you have left from the Chaim Bloom tenure? Two last place finishes in the AL East with a third being a real possibility. That simply isn’t going to cut it.

Sure, brighter days may very well be ahead for the Red Sox, regardless of who’s steering the ship. The farm system could yield some sturdy production in the long term, but at what point do we stop being fine with these hypothetical propositions?

If the Red Sox truly do want to move in a different direction like Henry said, it seems to me like the message from the top brass in the organization is this: “we do not trust Bloom to push us over the top.”

I think that’s fair.

Chaim’s biggest signing in Boston, Trevor Story, has had two bumpy seasons to begin his Red Sox career. It was a signing he was able to make below market than what he would have probably made otherwise due to injury concerns—we’ve seen the negative side of that this season, haven’t we?

Our fearless leader Dan Secatore brought this point up on the Monsters Of Sox podcast (subscribe subscribe subscribe!!!!!! [ed. note: subscribe!]): the best tool that the Red Sox have in their recruitment arsenal is the fact that they can outspend most other teams. You don’t want to tie yourself up in bad contracts—that’s a reality of which Bloom is not merely certainly astutely aware but one that had seemingly been his guiding light at the helm of the Red Sox—but when does the fear of spending big hinder the team? It’s nice to know that the financial picture is flexible, but it would be better if that was put to use to ensure Boston is competing for more titles.

Bloom had also been hesitant to make a big splash by parting with that collection of youngsters. Granted, that’s led to a solid prospect system, but that can only take you so far. Not all of the promising farmhands are going to contribute in the long term. The team has been on the fringes of the playoff picture a few times now come deadline day, and maybe with this new direction, they finally pull the trigger on cashing in on prospect pedigree.

I dunno. I don’t think Bloom did an awful job in Boston, I just am not convinced that he could’ve taken this team to the next level. Maybe the next person in charge will be able to do so, maybe they won’t. One thing I know for sure is that they’ll be stepping into a solid foundation thanks to what Bloom did: they ahve a hoard of youngsters, controllable big league contracts, and the ability to flex some financial muscle.

But just as the team felt they had to move on from Dave Dombrowski—a man known for pushing his chips into the middle of the table—for a guy who would hit the reset button, I think it makes a bit of sense to make another change for someone who will work to push in those chips again.

The Final Chapter

Fenway Park Mayors Walkthrough Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

We can sit here going back and forth on the Bloom era all day, but ultimately I do not think the final chapter of his legacy in Boston has been written.

So much of what comes out of Chaim’s tenure will be decided by those decisions coming down the pipe. Are the prospects that he held on to going to be pivotal pieces of Boston’s future foundation? Are they parlayed into a star coming to Fenway in a trade? Do those prospects or that trade acquisition fizzle out? I dunno!

As much as people have been jumping to give the final testament to Bloom’s job one way or the other, I’m hesitant to do the same. There’s plenty to still sort out. Maybe that’s a cop out, but it’s the truth. Ironically enough, Bloom’s final evaluation in my book comes down to what’s done within the organization and the players he’s kept around.

Song Of The Week: “Closing Time” by Semisonic

Because every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end!

Same time same place next week, friends! Go Sox.