Red Sox: Former Boston GM gives Chaim Bloom advice for the future
The Boston Red Sox named Chaim Bloom as the CBO this past offseason and a colleague who once held a similar role has given him some advice for the job.
Towards the end of the abysmal 2019 season, the Red Sox ownership group decided it was time for a change in Boston. The organization had seen lots of success thanks to the big-money spending of Dave Dombrowski, but the owners had grown tired of his style. Mainly due to the fact that they were writing massive tax penalty checks due to the massive contracts, he was doling out.
Now, Dombrowski should be praised for the work he did while he was the president of baseball ops in Beantown. Yeah, he spent a hell of a lot of money but he also made the deals that would eventually pay off in a World Series title. However, at the end of 2019 John Henry, Tom Werner, and Sam Kennedy decided to take a new approach to the team’s future.
After weeks of interviews and searching, they settled on Tampa Bay’s Chaim Bloom. The Rays’ front office man has been credited with some of the team’s best work in their developmental system as well as their strict budgeting. In the eyes of the Red Sox, he was the perfect fit to stop the bleeding.
With Bloom now at the helm, the spending was almost immediately put on hold as he was tasked with slashing the budget to get the Red Sox under the $208M CBT threshold. This would effectively reset Boston’s penalty marker back to zero and allow them to begin spending again in the future.
It hasn’t been easy for Chaim since he arrived at Fenway Park. Having to cut the budget of one of the richest franchises in the was mind-boggling to fans. Forbes placed the team third on the list at an estimated $3.3B, right behind the Dodgers ($3.4B), and Yankees ($5.5B). Then there was the trade heard ’round the world that sent Mookie Betts and David Price to the Dodgers for a paltry group of prospects.
Bloom has come under fire in the media a few times for the decisions he’s made since arriving, though he’s clearly doing the bidding of his bosses. One man who knows all too well what it’s like to sit in the General Manager’s hot seat is Ben Cherington.
While speaking with MassLive.com, Cherington looked back at his time with the Red Sox fondly as a massive learning tool for his new role as GM of the Pirates. He also had some advice for Bloom on handling the scrutiny he’ll almost certainly face from not only the fanbase but the Boston sports media.
"“I never really thought about that,” Cherington said. “But I don’t feel like my experience there was unfair. I think I learned a lot from it. I hope I learned a lot from it. Hopefully, I continue to learn all the time.”"
Cherington will always be brought up when poor contracts are discussed but he should also be remembered as a guy who built an insanely talented farm system. Red Sox mainstays Andrew Benintendi, Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, and the aforementioned Betts were all drafted under his watch, among several others.
He had the unenviable task of following Theo Epstein, who would become known as “The Curse Breaker,” for what he did in Boston and later with the Cubs. How the hell do you fill the shoes of a guy that built the team that ended an 86-year championship drought? Ben was successful in his own right though, winning a World Series in 2013, and again, drafting much of the team that would lead to the 2018 championship.
Bloom now finds himself in a similar position as Cherington did all those years ago. He has to come in and continue winning while also being strategic with his moves. The two also share a strong eye for talent that can be cultivated later down the road. After all, it was those players that Ben brought to Boston that would later be used in trade packages by Dombrowski.
It’s no easy job to essentially be the one who decides which players stay and which players go. Just remember when Epstein traded Nomar Garciaparra back in 2004, fans were none too thrilled. Luckily, that trade paid off dividends and was a catalyst to that fateful October.
"“To remind himself and ask others to remind him and each other every day just about who they are, how they really want to do the job and what that looks like every day,” Cherington said. “And to help each other manage the inevitable scrutiny that comes with that job anywhere but certainly in a place like that. The scrutiny is a good thing because it drives the interest and holds the team to the highest level of accountability."
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Whoever sits in that hot seat will always have the fans and media staring them dead in the eyes. It doesn’t matter how much the team wins or how many banners get raised at Fenway, if Bloom sneezes too loud, he’ll be scrutinized. Whether he spends too little, too much, or just the right amount in his boss’s eyes, someone will have something to say about it. Finding that right balance will be key for Chaim’s success with the Red Sox.
I’m more than optimistic that the course can be corrected under his watchful eye as his track record is a proven one. Bloom is incredibly smart and talented in his ability to draft and develop a farm system, which Boston desperately needs right now. If he can get his hands dirty in the lower levels of the organization, I truly feel we’ll see a resurgence of our young players.
Both Ben Cherington and Chaim Bloom are very good at what they do and deserve respect for the things they’ve accomplished. Bloom now finds himself trying to fix a broken Red Sox system and get Boston back into the win column. Meanwhile, Cherington will be leading the Pirates in the hopes of bringing more silverware to the city of Pittsburgh. Each has a tall task in front of them but I don’t see either crumbling under the pressure.