Red Sox hope to emulate the Rays success with Bloom in charge.
The Boston Red Sox were under new ownership in 2002 and they were also in the process of reaching out for the preeminent general manager in cost control, using the new-fangled metrics and finding value where none was perceived. That was Billy Beane and he was presented with a $12.5 million opportunity to be at the GM helm. After much deliberation, Beane turned down the offer and remained with the Oakland Athletics.
“My whole family was in California. I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. Boston is a great city. It’s an amazing sports town. But my life’s in California and I’m happy here.” – Billy Beane
It has taken the Red Sox almost twenty years but they finally got Beane – only it is a facsimile named Chaim Bloom. Bloom’s methods are quite similar to Beane’s with a reliance on finding value, judicious spending habits, being innovative, and turning out a winning product, but the wins for both Beane and Bloom ended with an attempt to grasp the real brass ring – a World Series title. Without Beane, the Red Sox franchise has been a performance and financial success, and now the responsibility for continuance is Bloom’s.
This season the Rays may remove that curse but Bloom will not be part of it. The A’s have already succumbed to their usual playoff failures and the Rays may follow. With both teams, the pattern is rather clear besides missing out on the big prize and they routinely jettison talented players over money issues. Both teams from the outside looking in are in a constant rebuilding or is it retooling mode?
Bloom is used to minimal resources and rarely steps out of the poor church mouse mode. When Bloom spends, such as with Charlie Morton, it invariably is baseball chump change when compared to Boston, the Dodgers, Yankees, and several others.
With Boston, we have already witnessed the Bloom approach with a line of pitchers whose pitching resume is certainly not an attention-getter. Most have failed. Bloom also took a chance with Jose Peraza with Peraza being the type of player who is risk-reward territory. Peraza failed and likely will go.
Bloom’s most prominent management directive was to cut payroll and therefore have the luxury tax reset and that was accomplished with the trade of Mookie Betts. Did Bloom get a reasonable return? That answer lies in the future as does Bloom’s other deals that apparently focus on resuscitating Boston’s bare prospect cupboard or finding that value that was overlooked elsewhere. Is that Nick Pivetta?
With Beane and now Bloom it has often been stated “what could they accomplish with money?” With Bloom, we will soon find out. The offseason will show how players such as free-agent Jackie Bradley Jr. are viewed by Bloom and his evaluators. The same will apply to the possible dipping into the free-agent pool that in the past would no doubt guarantee the Red Sox making either or both George Springer and Trevor Bauer shopping for high-end luxury goods.
The prospect pipeline is where Bloom will show his true value and that is the drafting of talent and signing international prospects. The Red Sox have already acquired some money via trades to eventually dispense to the international bounty hunt. Tampa had a ready supply of talent that once they became a potential fiscal burden were gone. Goodbye to David Price and an Evan Longoria. Will Bloom do the same in Boston? I doubt that.
Bloom is well respected for his ability to have an organization develop pitching that became the “Rays Way.” That takes time and with Red Sox fans it is a win it now philosophy. Ask Dave Dombrowski about the consequences of that. But that pitching. The Rays were quite successful so you would expect (hopefully) the Red Sox to be as fortunate. If not, Bloom will follow Dombrowski and Cherrington to the GM graveyard.
On the field, if we have a full season in 2020, expect even greater use of analytics, shifts, and innovative strategies, and what new ones are percolating in the Red Sox war room? What type of manager is Bloom scoping out to put the on-field action into some type of productive package? Then there is the money coming off the books the next two seasons to give Bloom some fiscal wiggly room that can be directed in multiple directions and may be as judiciously as Tampa.
The Red Sox and baseball will find out over the next three seasons just what a Bloom and in a subtext – Beane – could do with money. They are already on record with a willingness to spend. And if Bloom is successful the potential for part ownership may surface if the Red Sox go public or if an ownership change eventually takes place.