Just over one week ago, the Boston Red Sox decided to make a major change to their front office. Chaim Bloom, who is now the former President of Baseball Operations, was relieved of his duties on the heels of losing three out of four games to the New York Yankees.
For what was once the most historic rivalry in not just baseball but all of sports, tickets this past week were selling for as little as $1. Unfortunately, for most, that was still too expensive. Throughout the entire week, the Sox set record lows for attendance within the past decade. So why are the fans not showing up to games? For years, regardless of the team’s talent, Fenway Park was a destination for tourists and outside baseball fans. The general consensus on why no one is showing up may be very simple. For the last four years, the Red Sox have had zero sense of urgency.
After the World Series win in 2018 and an abysmal 2019 season, it was no secret that Red Sox owner John Henry wanted to spend less money. Cutting back on signing free agents and staying under the luxury tax for three consecutive years is a prime example of this. While Bloom didn’t do the job many hoped, let’s not ignore the fact that he was given a pretty bad hand.
The first task he was asked to do was trade star player and fan favorite Mookie Betts. Betts had made it clear he was not going to resign with the Red Sox after the lowball offers from Bloom and Henry. The contract Betts signed in Los Angeles was 30 million dollars more than the record-breaking team deal that Rafael Devers would sign three years later for $330 million dollars. In other words, the price points in negotiations were probably never close. Bloom did what he had to do. Rather than letting Betts walk and getting nothing in return, he pulled the trigger to send Betts to LA and collect Alex Verdugo along with young talent.
The farm system throughout the minors has grown magnificently. Players like Marcelo Mayer, Nick Yorke, Ceddanne Rafaela, and minor league player of the year Roman Anthony are just a few of the young stars Bloom brought to Boston over the years. He followed the owner’s orders, he rebuilt the farm system, which was a total mess when he took over in October of 2019. So what did he do wrong?
What went wrong was finishing last in the division two out of the last three years, and barring a sudden last-week turnaround, it’ll be finishing last in three out of the last four years. The Red Sox had the best record in baseball in June and had a decent July leading up to the trade deadline. For the second consecutive year, they essentially stood still at the deadline. They didn’t help their future by selling, and they didn’t help the present by not trading for good pieces that were available at the deadline, like Michael Lorenzen, Jack Flaherty and even old friend Eduardo Rodriguez. At the time, three out of the five starting pitchers in the rotation were on the injured list and the Red Sox were using bullpen games to get through each week. But Bloom, it felt like, at times, was afraid to make a move and touch the farm system. This essentially gave a message to the team that the front office didn’t believe in them enough to go out and acquire some extra depth to make a run at the postseason. The Sox have been falling slowly ever since, resulting in the firing of Bloom. To give the fans interest again, changes had to be made, and Bloom drew the short end of the stick.
The Red Sox will begin their search for a new President of Baseball Operations immediately. Brian O’Halloran, who’d been removed as the General Manager at the same time as Bloom, will enter an executive vice president role. This could cause problems for the new president, who may want to pick his own staff, as it’s been announced that Raquel Ferriera and Eddie Romero will stay as assistant general managers. The Bloom has indeed fallen off the rose.