If you could pick two teams in the MLB that had polar opposite seasons, the Rays and the Red Sox would be an easy answer. The Rays finished first in the AL East and are three wins away from the World Series. The Red Sox finished dead last in the AL East and were three losses away from a top-2 pick in the 2021 MLB Draft. Aside from being in the same division, there is another thing that links these two teams: Chaim Bloom.
Chaim Bloom’s Resume
Bloom took over as the Chief Baseball Officer of the Red Sox after being Senior VP of Baseball Operations with the Rays for the previous four seasons. In his first six months on the job in Boston, he was faced with the tough decision to trade homegrown superstar Mookie Betts. Despite the negative reaction this trade got from fans (rightfully so), the Red Sox were able to get Alex Verdugo in the deal, who finished fifth in the AL in batting average.
These are the type of deals that Bloom has made to get the Rays in the position they are in now. For example, in 2018, Bloom traded long-time Rays ace Chris Archer to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Many Rays fans were sad to see their star pitcher go, but the return that Bloom got surely made up for it. The Pirates sent Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows, along with a PTBNL, in return for Archer. While Archer has a 4.92 ERA with a WHIP just under 1.4 with the Pirates, Glasnow just pitched a win-or-go-home playoff game for the Rays and Meadows was an all-star in 2019. These are the types of one-sided deals that Boston hopes to see out of Bloom.
While Mookie has already shown that he will not be as bad as Archer has been, Verdugo surely was a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy Red Sox season. In terms of other trades that Bloom has made since he came to Boston, there is reason to trust Bloom and his decision making. In a lost season, he turned a half season of Mitch Moreland, Josh Osich, Kevin Pillar, and Brandon Workman into several serviceable prospects that have major league potential. However, it is going to take more than just little trades to turn the Red Sox from a dumpster fire to a World Series contender.
If you look up and down the Rays roster, you won’t see a lot of names that jump out at you. They have a Cy Young winner in Blake Snell and 3x Gold Glove Winner in Kevin Kiermaier but they certainly aren’t a team filled with superstars, like the Yankees for example. This is how Chaim Bloom builds his team. This is partly because Tampa doesn’t have the benefit of being a big market team, but also because of the analytical genius that he surrounded himself with. Bloom had a front office in Tampa that bought into his strategy and perfected it. Once Bloom gets his guys in Boston, it should be fun to watch.
It will certainly be a different team-building strategy than Dave Dombrowski, who fixed all the team’s problems by throwing money at them. While I anticipate that Bloom will stick to his guns in terms of his analytical approach, the ownership’s deep pockets will complement that. John Henry and company have continually shown that they are not afraid to spend, something that Bloom was not accustomed to in Tampa. This should allow the Red Sox’ turn around to be much quicker than that of the Rays. Instead of having to wait for a pitcher to develop, Bloom now has the resources to go out and get an ace of his choosing (*wink* Trevor Bauer).
The expectations in Boston will always be championship or bust. However, Red Sox fans aren’t strangers to having a few tough years before making a run at a World Series. The Red Sox had their worst season in recent memory (excluding 2020) in 2012, just a year before winning it all in 2013. They followed that championship up by four more mediocre seasons before the best season in franchise history in 2018.
As the team stands right now, the Red Sox are not World Series contenders. But heading into Bloom’s first full offseason with the club, his history shows that there is a lot to be excited about going forward. Whether it is guys you have never heard of like Christian Arroyo and Yairo Muñoz or veterans like Xander Bogaerts and JD Martinez, Chaim Bloom will ultimately have his guys on the field making an impact going forward.
Photo: (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
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