- Tim Burke
Thoughts on Chaim Bloom Hiring
I want to start off this article by talking about Dave Dombrowski. He is a great baseball executive and I have massive respect for him and will forever be grateful for the 2018 World Series Title. Dombrowski's departure should have been handled better by the Red Sox. His removal one year after winning a World Series was shocking. He was just not on the same page as the Red Sox. Their philosophy changed.
The fall of a former Dombrowski run team probably led to his departure from Boston. The Tigers had a few really good teams that never won a World Series. In hopes to win with their star studded core, Detroit extended their stars and got stuck in long term contracts and depleted their farm system. They won an abysmal 47 games in 2019. They have been stuck in rebuild mode for a few years now with no end in sight. John Henry probably noticed this. I’m sure it was a factor in the Red Sox's change in philosophy. Again, I have all the respect in the world for Dave Dombrowski. He deserves to lead another team's baseball operations staff. I hope he will soon.
The Red Sox are recommitting to analytics. The Yankees, Rays, A's, Dodgers, and most notably the Astros have all had success using analytics to win ball games. Every team uses analytics but not to the extent that these originations do. These are the front offices in the game and the Red Sox want to be in that conversation too. They have high expectations. They want to be a dynasty and they believe Bloom can lead them to that goal. Here is what to expect from Boston's new Chief Baseball Officer.
Chaim Bloom was instrumental in bringing the opener into fruition. The opener or “bullpen game” has been baseball's latest phenomenon. The opener is used to limit exposure of pitchers throughout the game. We see teams use this towards the end of their rotation.
It is a smart, innovative and effective way to limit the runs allowed. There is a negative side to the Sox using the opener too.
The health of the starting rotation is a big concern for the Red Sox in 2020. The condition of Chris Sale's elbow is questionable and he may have Tommy John surgery in his future. David Price has had his share of injuries in his Boston tenure and his arm has logged 2,000 innings. At 34, we can only hope he can stay healthy and be effective. Nathan Eovaldi has had flashes of brilliance but several IR stints have hurt his career. The rotation being healthy is important to the Red Sox, as they do not want the bullpen to be overexposed. The Red Sox bullpen was overused in 2019 and it did not go well. The pitching staff is their biggest weakness but there is still several strong arms on the roster. Hoping those arms are healthy and adding depth to the Sox staff are likely the first moves the front office will make under Bloom.
The Rays are known for having extreme defensive shifts. They are one of the few teams who frequently shift right handed hitters or use four outfielders. Will we see this more in Boston?
The Rays are a team that use all the data possible to win the most baseball games they have with their roster. In fact, that is the goal of every Major League front office. Tampa's front office is just the most innovative in doing so. I expect to see a lot of creative defensive shifts and other strategic ideas from the Red Sox moving forward.
Rebuild the farm system
I hope Bloom breaks the second biggest curse in Red Sox history. The curse of the home grown pitchers. The Sox haven’t been able to develop a home grown pitcher since Clay Buchholz in 2005. I know it is easier to criticize the Red Sox than to actually be in their shoes but this is an extreme weakness the organization has had for over a decade. Chaim Bloom cannot fix it by himself but he certainly knows to place an emphasis on having a strong farm system as a whole. The Red Sox farm system is one of the weakest in baseball. Rebuilding the farm system is crucial to sustain a winning culture. The Rays have been one of the best teams in baseball for the past decade. The biggest strength in their organization is their ability to develop homegrown talent. Tampa has one of the lowest payrolls in baseball. They often are unable to keep their star players. The Rays have to constantly develop homegrown talent to stay competitive.
Chaim Bloom has a lot to do with that. This is exactly why John Henry wants him.
Bloom has been apart of organization that has had massive success over the last decade without spending a ridiculous amount of money. Baseball is a business. John Henry wants to make the most profit possible on his business. Cutting the payroll helps with profits. That does not mean Chaim Bloom won’t shy away from spending money. He knows how valuable some players are.
There is one thing that is clear about the Red Sox future. John Henry wants to cut payroll. This seems like a negative thing but it is not necessarily. Andrew Friedman's Dodgers have had massive success the last four seasons while cutting payroll each year. Bloom, a former collaborator of Andrew Friedman, will certainly be called upon to do the same. People often think this means the Red Sox do not want to sign Betts and Martinez. That is not true. The Red Sox will still be in the market for the best available players they just will not overpay for players they can cheaply replace the production of. Jackie Bradley Jr. is an example of this. He will likely make eleven million in 2020 and the Red Sox may cut ties with him in order to cut payroll. This does not necessarily mean the Red Sox should or will do this. There is not a better defensive center fielder in baseball. He is an extremely valuable player to have on the Red Sox roster. It is just a possibility.
The Important Question
The biggest question Red Sox nation has for Chaim Bloom...Will he keep Mookie Betts? There are not a lot of players who are on Mookie’s level. He’s a true five tool player. Betts is one of the most discipline hitters in baseball his strikeout to walk ratio is third in baseball behind Carlos Santana and Alex Bregman. Those guys are hitting machines. Betts is a former American League batting champion, an extra base hit machine with phenomal speed, and defense. Betts has the potential to his fourth consecutive gold glove in 2019. He is truly one of the games premiere players and will get a crap load of money. Chaim sees the value in players with extradionary talent. We see this below in his article about Alex Rodriguez.
He knows when guys are worth their contracts. Betts is one of those guys. It is just a matter of whether the two sides can get the deal done. Lets all hope so.
The Red Sox are in good hands. Chaim Bloom is a talented baseball executive with a bright future. His innovation and experience with the Rays is something new and exciting for the Red Sox. If they give him the time to make the team his own this may be the best move the Red Sox have made in years.