No one – rival executives, media members, fans – understands what the Boston Red Sox are doing.
The overwhelming perception and sentiment aren’t good, though.
In years past, the Sox were the belle of the ball. Now, they’ve made themselves the odd man out. Their strategy with the media certainly isn’t helping. Every time they talk about interest, hope of contending, or a star player, they dig themselves into a deeper hole, from which they’ll only be able to climb out if they pay the right players. They’re starting to sound desperate, too; in an attempt to spin-zone this situation in the club’s favor on Tuesday, Bloom decided to go the Rob Manfred route of saying blatantly untrue things:
"“You want the players who want to play for you and some players really crave what Boston brings. Others are interested in the opportunity or the financial terms are there but they want something that is different from our situation and different from the atmosphere that we have. As history has shown, you don’t want to bring players to Boston who don’t want to play in Boston.”via Boston Herald"
Nice spin, Mr. Bloom.
Of course, the glaringly obvious fact is that players don’t seem keen on joining this organization that’s finished last in the division twice in three years, has a track record of not doing right by their biggest homegrown stars, and is now acting like the Rays, who funny enough, are actually signing people. In less than a week’s time, the Sox have made offers to several free agents, and come to an agreement with only one: Chris Martin. Three of their top targets chose to play closer to home, which feels like an indictment of Boston’s current reputation in the league. The Sox and Rays made the same offer to Zach Eflin, and they made a bigger offer to Andrew Heaney, who took less money to join the Rangers, instead. According to reports, Heaney was impressed with the Rangers’ vision for their team. Oh, to be a fly on the wall when he asked Chaim Bloom about the Sox’ vision.
It’s hard to believe that it’s a coincidence three players in four days all gave the same reason for signing elsewhere. More likely, the Sox just aren’t a desirable landing spot; they certainly don’t look like one. Other front offices are making it abundantly clear that they’re trying to build a contender. Meanwhile, not a single executive who’s gone on the record at the Winter Meetings this week understands what the Sox are doing, other than totally bungling the Xander Bogaerts thing.
Speaking of, does Bloom understand how ridiculous he sounds in light of the Bogaerts situation? There is no player right now who wanted to be here more than Bogaerts. He approached the front office about an extension in 2019, signed a team-friendly deal, endured the insult of Boston’s absurd “offer” last spring, helped them sign Trevor Story, and then had the best defensive season of his career. It has never been in doubt that Bogaerts would like to wear one uniform until he retires, and he’s exactly the kind of player who deserves to. Bloom, Sam Kennedy, and ownership cannot be hubristic enough to think anyone believes otherwise.
Right now, it looks like no one wants to play in Boston. If the Sox want to change that, they should start by bringing back the guy who really does.