Of course, Chaim Bloom has regrets.
After the way the 2022 Boston Red Sox turned out, it would be quite concerning if he didn’t.
While the Sox were far from the worst team in the league this year in terms of record, they finished at the bottom of their division. Worse, they spent like a winning team, only to lose hard; their luxury tax allocations were the fifth-highest among the 30 teams, and they exceeded the $230M threshold by nearly $24M.
Unsurprisingly, overspending to underperform is an area of self-reproach for Bloom. But what is surprising is how Bloom wishes he would have gotten under the luxury tax threshold this season. Ahead of the team’s final series of the season, Bloom sat down with Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe (subscription required) to reflect on where the season went wrong and what’s to come. When the conversation shifted to the luxury tax, Bloom revealed that in hindsight, he regretted not dealing two key members of the 2018 championship team:
"You exceeded the luxury-tax threshold and will finish in last place. How can that happen?“We know how it happened and we knew when we made the decisions we did at the trade deadline [not to trade Nate Eovaldi or J.D. Martinez] that there was a possibility it could go this way.In hindsight, sitting here and looking at that, it’s obviously something we’d want to change. Like I said at the time, we felt fortunate to have the backing [from ownership] to be able to prioritize trying to accomplish both goals of staying in the race and improving the organization without prioritizing the luxury tax.”"
Chaim Bloom regrets not trading JD Martinez or Nathan Eovaldi at 2022 deadline
Of all the teams who took action at the deadline, the Sox were perhaps the most puzzling movers and shakers. They unloaded Jake Diekman and Christian Vázquez but took on Eric Hosmer, Reese McGuire, and Tommy Pham, and kept Martinez and Eovaldi, previously considered their two most likely trade candidates.
The addition and subtraction weren’t enough to turn the season around, especially since Martinez’s hitting fell off a cliff and Eovaldi spent considerable time on the Injured List.
Looking ahead, Bloom’s admission could also inform how he feels about bringing Martinez and/or Eovaldi back. At Thursday’s end-of-season press conference, Bloom said that some Qualifying Offers are “very obvious decisions,” but they’re likely only obvious to him, as many of the front office’s moves throughout his tenure have been totally unexpected and often seem random. It feels unlikely that the Sox will extend a QO (approximately $19M) to either player, but there’s a chance they will make them a lower offer more in line with their age, health, and performance this year.