Baseball

Grading Chaim Bloom’s Season

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Chaim Bloom was hired on October 25, 2019, by the Boston Red Sox, to succeed Dave Dombrowski as the head of baseball operations. Bloom strolled into Fenway Park sharply dressed and with a fancy new title, Chief Baseball Officer. Bloom, 36-years-old at the time of hiring, was not a stranger to the world of baseball operations, having spent over a decade as a part of the Tampa Bay Rays organization.

Bloom was immediately put into a no-win situation with a majority of Red Sox Nation. February 11, 2020, just shy of four months in charge, Bloom dealt superstar and fan favorite, Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Red Sox failed to extend Betts, with the team’s best offer reportedly being 10/$300M, and with no true resolution in sight, Bloom figured the best decision was to ultimately trade Betts. Believe it, or not, trading Betts was extremely beneficial to the future success of the Red Sox.

The 2020 season for the Red Sox was historically terrible. The saving grace for the 2020 season is that it only lasted 60-games. A 60-game season in which the Red Sox managed to win just 26-games, and finished with the fourth-worst record in Major League Baseball. The dismal 2020 season did however lead to the Red Sox receiving the fourth overall pick in the 2021 draft. Marcelo Mayer, ranked by nearly every industry expert as the consensus number one pick fell to the Red Sox at number four on draft day. The Red Sox farm system, in just about two years, under Chaim Bloom’s tutelage is primed for major success. Coming into the 2021 season, the Red Sox system was ranked 24th by MLB Pipeline, and now the organization is ranked 12th. Look for the Red Sox farm system to be in the top five by 2023.

The Red Sox in 2021 have a record of 88-66 and own a 1.0 game lead over the New York Yankees for the first American League Wild Card with eight games left to the season. Coming into the season, Sports Illustrated quoted, “they may not have actively torn down any more this winter—but they sure didn’t start building back up,” with regard to the Red Sox offseason. Sports Illustrated predicted an 80 win season. According to Fangraphs, the Red Sox are on pace to win 93 games and win the first Wild Card. Take that Sports Illustrated!

The idea of the Red Sox not building a winning team this winter is a slap in the face to Chaim Bloom. The Red Sox are not in a championship window, not in the way the Yankees, Dodgers, Padres, and White Sox are in their windows. Chaim Bloom built a competitive team for the 2020 season and that is truly all any fan could ask for. The Red Sox are playing competitive and meaningful games in September.

Enrique Hernández, Hunter Renfroe and Alex Verdugo are the mainstays of the 2021 Red Sox outfield. Hernández and Renfroe added to the Red Sox this offseason for a combined salary of $9,100,000. The Red Sox also have control over Renfroe through the 2023 season, after the Tampa Bay Rays failed to tender him a contract after a down 2020 season. Adding in Verdugo, the cost for the 2021 Red Sox outfield is $9,749,500 and as a unit, the outfield possesses an rWAR of 9.0. Many Red Sox fans upset over the Betts trade were oddly just as upset about trading Andrew Benintendi and were even mad at Bloom for not re-signing Jackie Bradley Jr. The fans that cling to the 2018 Championship team are simply living in the past, most refuse to understand the present and cannot comprehend just how well this organization is set up for 2023 and beyond. Betts, Benintendi, and Bradley are making a combined $30,600,000 for the season and together they have an rWAR of 6.8. The Red Sox are saving $20,850,500 and have three players worth 2.2 more wins on the season than their 2018 counterparts. It is foolish to not trust Chaim Bloom, he is crazy good at his job, and even better at finding incredible value in places others might not look.

Hernández and Renfroe are two of the biggest additions to what was an already potent lineup that contained JD Martinez, Rafael Devers, and Xander Bogaerts. Bloom went out and got arguably the best bat on the trade market in Kyle Schwarber. In 32 games for the Red Sox, Schwarber has posted a slash line of .297/.431/.541 with an OPS of .971, six home runs, and 17 RBI. Schwarber has been an asset to the Red Sox lineup. Bloom also added bullpen pieces, Austin Davis and Hansel Robles at the deadline. Many criticized Bloom for not going more all in at the deadline, but seeing how much of a seller’s market this particular deadline was, getting Schwarber, Davis, and Robles for RHP Aldo Ramirez, IF Michael Chavis, and RHP Alex Scherff. The Red Sox did not have to give up a top prospect for any of the players added at the deadline.

Chaim Bloom, since being hired, added Schwarber, Renfroe, Hernández, Davis, Robles, Adam Ottavino, Nick Pivetta, Martin Perez, Garrett Richards, Hirokazu Sawamura, Phillips Valdez, Garrett Whitlock, Kevin Plawecki, Christian Arroyo, Jonathan Araúz, Travis Shaw, Jose Iglesias, Danny Santana, Franchy Cordero, Marwin Gonzalez, and Alex Verdugo. Not every signing or trade is a success. The Marwin Gonzalez experiment ended poorly, Garrett Richards failed as a starter, yet has found himself to be a real value in the pen. Martín Pérez and Danny Santana have somehow managed to not be DFA’d.

The amount of good that Bloom has added far outweighs the bad. The bad will always come along, Theo Epstein, Ben Cherington, and Dave Dombrowski all had good, and they all experienced the bad. The biggest issue for Bloom is that he is yet to win a championship. If and when Bloom wins a championship in Boston that is when some fans will give him props. It is unfair the grief Bloom had received from the fanbase, as most of it is completely unfounded. Chaim Bloom is the perfect fit to turn the Red Sox into a championship-caliber team for the foreseeable future. The model Bloom is following is not that of the Tampa Bay Rays, the model is that of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Red Sox fans, trust Chaim Bloom, he put together an incredible winning baseball team while rebuilding for the future, there really is not much more that could be asked from the man.

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main image credit: Embed from Getty Images

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