Red Sox: Chaim Bloom does not deserve to be scapegoated for slow offseason
Red Sox CBO Chaim Bloom shouldn’t be scapegoated for slow winter
Major League Baseball has been notorious for having a very slow and tedious offseason. This offseason is especially unique given the fact that the coronavirus pandemic has vastly affected the way the world as a whole operates. Many people expect teams to hit the ground running and make all the transactions to fill any respective voids on the field in a matter of days. Unfortunately, that is not usually the case, and with the fate of next season’s start time up in the air, transactions are not going to come left and right for every team. This has been especially true for the Boston Red Sox, and CBO Chaim Bloom is receiving criticism for his slow approach to making moves that will inevitably be made down the line regardless.
While the Padres are an exception to the statement above given their fearlessness in adding talent in recent days, not every franchise has the depth to make big moves day in and day out. The Red Sox have been noted as an example of a franchise that has not lived up to expectations in addressing their needs, but they are not the only team taking precautions, which is a good thing.
Bloom should not be the scapegoat for what has ultimately been an underwhelming winter to date for Boston. While the team has made some smaller additions to reinforce some areas of weakness around the diamond, they have yet to set the world on fire as we saw the Padres do yesterday in the span of 24 hours. That being said, the head of a team taking time in doing homework on a player and learning as much as possible about their background, medical records and trend is a valuable element of discipline. The same can be said for players they would consider offering in a trade for that player.
These elements are especially true when you put money or talent into the equation. A contract is not something that can be taken back, once it has been signed, it’s official and a team is financially obligated to pay that money. The team has work to do, this is known. But with over 20 available starting pitchers and several solid pieces at other positions on the free-agent market, it’s time to pump the breaks for a minute. Understand that just because some dominoes have fallen there is no need to hit the panic button this early.
After doing a little research, Boston is not the only team to take a slow approach to the still-loaded free-agent market. There have been transactions involving a variety of teams, but many of the moves made to this point have been rather minor deals, with few mind-blowing acquisitions coming to fruition until the Padres came out of the blue to make three separate transactions within 24-hours.
That’s all it took, 24 hours. The Padres were a good team as is, with room for improvement, so they went out and did just that. Before the marathon that led to the team acquiring a slew of new talent, the most notable transactions they had made were signing several players to minor league deals. Sounds familiar, right?
Perhaps Boston has its 24-hours of fame and calls it an offseason. Would people praise management at the moment just to become upset a year later if the moves don’t pan out due to unforeseen circumstances? Most likely. This is why some teams like to take things slow and understand that their job is to field a serviceable team, not set the world on fire. This is real life with real money, not a video game with a force trade button and no repercussions should things not go according to plan.
It should be understood that the job of reeling in talent and making the club better does not always happen in a single day. The infamous saying, “Rome was not built in a day” is applicable to Boston’s current situation. They have the talent at present along with financial ability to get back to a good spot in the standings, but it takes time to get to where they would like to be.
For those speculating why Boston did not make a competitive offer for former Tampa Bay Ray Blake Snell? Well, there are two primary reasons: the team did not want to completely bleed the farm system dry (nor did they have the depth to do so) and if they theoretically did make a deal involving Snell, they would be facing the repercussions in competing with their own former major league talent/farmhands for the next several years.
The same individuals who complained about the infamous Mookie Betts trade are now pacing around waiting for Boston to make a transaction that could ultimately get them stuck in the same position they had been in with David Price, signing a player just to dump his contract by including a top-tier talent to engage the opposite party. Do people want Boston to be in the same boat as it was last year in the next five years? Probably not.
Bloom knows he has the financial flexibility to make a move, the necessary prospects to move in the right trade, but until either possibility presents itself, there is no reason to point fingers at a man who is trying to take his time in doing the job. Yes, the “runner-up” news is getting old but please remember that there is still a variety of talent on the free-agent market that Boston has the ability to bring on board.
Boston clearly did not feel comfortable getting into a bidding war with other teams over the variety of players they had been reported to be engaging with. Plain and simple. For example, Boston was recently mentioned as a finalist for international free agent Kohei Arihara but ultimately was beaten out by the Rangers.
His name had been on the market for a month and most people likely were unaware of who he was or that Boston had an interest until the Red Sox were listed as a finalist days before his signing. Now many people are frustrated that the team did not add a player they likely knew nothing about? Management should not be facing backlash for missing out on transactions of this nature.
More importantly, Boston is certainly active on the open market, discussing a variety of different scenarios and players to add to the fold, such as their interest in Kiké Hernandez or interest in Marcus Semien. The team’s trend in keeping things quiet is clearly for a reason. When the rumors go public and Boston does not sign or trade for that player, people grow frustrated. Perhaps there’s a reason for management keeping their discussions under-the-radar.
Transactions can and will occur. Management knows moves need to be made and they are ultimately exploring ideas, looking for the best fit at every open spot. A move may not be made today, or tomorrow, but talks will eventually heat up. The Red Sox are not the only teams who are taking a steady approach to add talent. This offseason has been and will continue to be one of the most uneasy and risky offseasons in recent memory. Don’t forget, there’s a pandemic going on that could greatly affect the league’s ability to actually play the games that these players are being paid to participate in.