Chaim Bloom is now the payroll master in Boston and will have a small market payroll mentality to work with. Can Bloom fill the roster with a solid supporting cast?
Chaim Bloom is next in line to be raised to management hero status or to be summarily dismissed and be relegated to a Red Sox historic footnote. The details of Bloom’s management history are now well-known to the denizens of Red Sox Nation including special attention to his former employers the Tampa Bay Rays where he spent his professional baseball life.
Bloom’s connection to Tampa is invariably followed by references to Tampa’s payroll which – no surprise – connects to Boston’s payroll. In 2019, the Rays accomplished more for less or far less, but the Rays also have never won a World Series in their history. So maybe more does win out? It certainly has this century for the Red Sox. Bloom’s small market maneuvering should be perfect under the circumstances dictated by available cap space.
Bloom will not be working with a vault full of money to be dispensed in a flurry of ill-advised contracts since the money is not there. Nope. The Red Sox are now in Tampa status for a few years if they are serious about dropping under the competitive balance tax threshold of $208 Million. The commitment is there for over $151 Million for contracts for just 2020. A similar number will be on the books for 2021 and 2022 it drops to an estimated $122 Million.
Bloom will have roughly $56 Million in 2020 and 2021 to commit to the roster. Anything more and the LT is peeking around the door. There is nothing Bloom can do about long-term deals that the Red Sox are responsible for even if David Price and Chris Sale are sent packing the Red Sox pick up the bill. Just think Pablo Sandoval who is still getting a $5 Million payout in 2020.
Based on the contract situation this is a perfect spot for Bloom as he may be able to apply the same roster magic at Tampa to Boston and squeeze as much talent as possible out of a Tampa like $56 Million. Unlike Tampa Bloom does have his high-priced locked up talent and that could certainly make or break 2020.
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The Washington Nationals and Houston Astros have clearly shown the importance of a talented and expensive rotation. The Red Sox rotation can be equal in quality if somehow the Big Three of Price, Sale, and Nathan Eovaldi get healthy and have a career or close to career years. That, of course, is a dream of all Red Sox fans and most certainly of Bloom.
Bloom also has some real core talent in Andrew Benintendi, Rafael Devers, Eduardo Rodriguez, Christian Vazquez, and J.D. Martinez. They are either locked up or under team control sans the potential contract drama of Martinez. A big plus for Bloom. A strong foundation of star talent.
Bloom’s job is two-fold with the first being filling out the roster with a limited payroll and the second that connects to the first – Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. Can and will Bloom make the deals? Will Bloom trade one or both? If that happens comes the test for astute player evaluation with special emphasis on getting a return that could rejuvenate the farm system while supplying a warm body or two to complement the roster. They need troops since they have already cornered the market on high-priced generals.
The next few months will be of interest in just how Bloom approaches the baseball infrastructure in operations especially his noted forte in metrics. The shiny keys are not the mundane front office or back office maneuvering, but the roster for 2020. Is Bloom capable of putting a product on the field that will generate excitement that a return to 100+ wins is possible?
Bloom needs some real breaks and it all starts with the $80 Million trio. All three suddenly revert to star status Bloom becomes a genius. And deals? They will be examined and debated long into the season. Then the last part of the puzzle is scraping up talent where none was thought to exist. Bloom has a daunting task in store.