By firing Chaim Bloom, Red Sox ownership have a scapegoat for their cheapness

John Henry's part in all of the Red Sox's struggles can't be forgotten
Chelsea FC v Liverpool FC - Premier League
Chelsea FC v Liverpool FC - Premier League / Clive Mason/GettyImages

On Thursday, the Boston Red Sox announced they and chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom would be parting ways. This move, of course, is coming off the back of two disappointing seasons from the Red Sox, and an overall tenure that saw just one playoff appearance in four seasons while under Bloom. It's a move that some Red Sox fans will see as a long overdue move, while others will see it as another misstep by an organization that hasn't been able to seemingly do anything right since their last World Series win in 2018.

There's a key thing to remember with the news of Bloom's firing, and that is that there's been one constant that has been able to fly somewhat under the radar in terms of blame for the Red Sox's failures recently: John Henry. Viewing Chaim Bloom as the reason for the struggles of the Red Sox in recent years means completely absolving Henry of any blame with this team.

John Henry's part in all of the Red Sox's struggles can't be forgotten

I talked about Henry briefly in my piece discussing the massive Fenway Corners development project, and in that piece, I took the tone of someone who was apologetic and almost rooting for John Henry, coming off as someone who wanted Red Sox fans to simply blindly trust the billionaire owner of the team with important calls, and hoping his bottom line looked even better. I took this tone because, in my head, I hoped that maybe by making some more investment around Fenway, it showed that Henry was willing to make some more investment in the Red Sox themselves, after seemingly taking a bit of a back seat to Henry's other ownership interests in sports.

I would like to officially go on the record here and now, and retract any and all forgiveness I may have given John Henry in my tone in that piece, and plant my flag firmly in the camp that John Henry does not care about the Boston Red Sox, and he is using Chaim Bloom as the scapegoat for his failures in the past few seasons.

When Bloom came on in late 2019, John Henry was feeling good about his investments. The Red Sox had just won their fourth World Series in Henry's ownership the previous season, Liverpool FC had just won the UEFA Champions League and were on their way to winning their first Premier League title in 30 years, and he was starting to sniff around purchasing the PIttsburgh Penguins, so seemingly, life couldn't be better for Henry. However, one thing stuck in his craw: the payroll of the Red Sox.

The Boston Red Sox had the league's highest payroll in 2019, spending just over $220 million on a team that finished 84-78, unsuccessfully defending their World Series championship. This payroll put the Red Sox above the luxury tax threshold, meaning even more money had to come out of Henry's pockets. "How can I fix this?" Henry wondered, wiping his tears with $100 dollar bills he found stuffed in his couch cushions, when suddenly, an idea came to mind.

Chaim Bloom had plenty of experience running a team that worked hard to keep a low payroll during his time with the Tampa Bay Rays, pretty much taking "Moneyball" to the extreme. Henry saw what Bloom could do in Tampa, and figured he could make it work in a larger market. Bloom's main goal as chief baseball officer was to cut down the payroll so Henry didn't have to keep shelling out more in taxes than he felt he needed to, and Bloom helped Henry do exactly that. The Mookie Betts trade, which definitely got Bloom off on the wrong foot with Red Sox fans, didn't happen because Bloom came to the front office and said that he thinks there's more value in getting four prospects for a generational talent. It happened because John Henry was too cheap to pay his star, and signing Betts to a massive contract at the time would have run completely counter to what Henry wanted Bloom to do in cutting payroll, so he figured it would be easiest to just trade Betts and get a cheap return while he was still under team control.

As the years moved along, Henry's dream of the Red Sox having a lower payroll came true, as they went from being first in 2019 to third in both 2020 and 2021, sixth in 2022, and finally 13th this season. There is no reason that a team as historic as the Red Sox, as successful as the Red Sox, and in as big a market as the Red Sox should be in the same ballpark of payroll spending as the Colorado Rockies (15th in the league).

John Henry should be ashamed of himself, and every negative thing that has happened in the past few seasons with the Red Sox can be traced back to Henry not being willing to spend on this team.

Of course, teams like the New York Mets and the San Diego Padres have shown us that massive spending does not correlate to wins on the diamond, but the perspective is much different when you're cutting spending, as opposed to growing your payroll. I think Chaim Bloom, in totality, did a good job with the Red Sox.

Bloom has very effectively rebuilt the Red Sox farm system, he locked down Rafael Devers for pretty much the rest of his career, and has made good calls on personnel moving on when they wouldn't bring value to the team anymore. Not everything has been a winner but I think the good outcomes have outweighed the bad. When Red Sox fans look back on this period of the team being in a sort of weird limbo state, where we weren't ever sure how aggressive the front office would be or how the team would perform, we need to remember that any big move we missed on didn't happen because of Chaim Bloom, but rather because Red Sox ownership has failed this team, this fanbase, and this city.

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