The Red Sox have a new sheriff in Claim Bloom who is starting a reconstruction. Bloom needs to address the poor history of pitching development.
The Boston Red Sox have done the expected and in honor of Queen, another one bites the dust with 29-year-old Brian Johnson being placed on outright waivers. To continue the rock theme, this is not the Johnson of AC/DC who has retired, but the left-handed former first-round pick (2012) who accomplished little for Boston.
Johnson is symptomatic of a depressing trend with the local nine’s inability to develop pitching. Johnson is just the latest in a pathetic record of pitching development. Henry Owens, a first-round pick (2011), suffered a similar fate as Johnson by being waived in December of 2017.
If there is a possible inkling of positivity from 2011 it’s that Matt Barnes was also a first-round pick when the A’s drafting ahead of Boston selected Sonny Gray. Barnes has been serviceable out of the bullpen. The list is long and the list is depressing regarding first-round picks. Anthony Ranaudo (2010, Pat Light (2012), and Trey Ball (2013) have produced nothing of merit for Boston.
Recent picks Jay Groome (2016) and Tanner Houck (2017) are still distinct possibilities to reverse the trend. Houck will be at Pawtucket (AAA) and Groome will finally have a full season (hopefully) after you-know-what arm surgery. One first-round pick may be one of the best in a few seasons – Michael Kopech (2014) but it will be for the wrong Sox.
More from Red Sox News
- Red Sox Nation deserves far more from Fenway Sports Group
- Bizarre trade deadline comes back to haunt Red Sox after Nathan Eovaldi departure
- Red Sox’ Moneyball-style offseason continues with Corey Kluber contract
- Rich Hill’s Red Sox departure puts him within striking distance of unique MLB record
- Red Sox offseason takes another nasty hit with Nathan Eovaldi departure
This inability goes well beyond just the first-round selections and drifts through the system. A few may surface here or elsewhere to toss some credible innings, but the track record is one of the monumental disappointments. Is it a development strategy? Inferior scouting? Bad luck? For an organization that is quite proficient at producing position players the polar opposite exists with the most important position – that little bump.
The reign of Chaim Bloom has begun and the consensus is the Big Club and the various drama that encompasses. The possible trades of Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. The payroll crunch and even the possibility of manager Alex Cora being punished for his possible unscrupulous sign-stealing behavior with the Astros. To me, the focus is on pitching.
The payroll situation is directly linked to Boston’s inability to develop a competent arm or even two for the rotation. David Price at $32 million a year and now Chris Sale at $30 million a year. If Johnson or Ball had progressed, that money could have been allocated elsewhere such as the soon to be gone right fielder. And let’s not omit Nathan Eovaldi.
Bloom has his work cut out for him, but his career with the Tampa Bay Rays is steeped in minor league development and successful drafting. Perfect? Of course not, but compared to Boston just about anything is a significant plus in comparison regarding pitching. Bloom digs for players via the draft, international signings, and astute trades. Hopefully, that methodology will translate to his tenure in Boston.
Bloom will build an organization in his image and already a few exits have taken place. Bloom will install his own corporate culture and in the next few months, judicious eyes of Red Sox Nation should watch just how a foundation – meaning player development, scouting, and drafting is being put in place. Personnel and culture.
Bloom’s rebuilding of the farm system may not reach fruition for several seasons. This will not be instant gratification for Red Sox fans who are notoriously impatient. Hopefully, that impatience is not adopted by management and Bloom will be given the resources and time to get the depleted system back on track.