Fall in New England: Making Sense of the Assets Chaim Bloom Leaves Behind in Boston — Part 0, The Introduction
If you follow the Boston Red Sox, or just baseball in general, then you know that change is afoot at Fenway Park. Just over a week ago the organization parted ways with Not-General-Manager, “Chief Baseball Executive,” Baseball Ops Tzar Chaim Bloom. Bloom was a divisive figure in the New England region. A large group of fans felt he was a puppet of the ownership group from the get-go, brought in to give Fenway Sports Group a degree of separation from the ball club while cost cutting measures were taken in the wake of an era of free spending. Another group of fans, dubbed the “Bloominati” by their detractors, advocated strongly for Bloom’s approach, which they argued was necessary in the wake of the reckless “all-in” tendency of the Dombrowski years, which had left both the Red Sox payroll and farm system in tatters. Lots of very normal people fell somewhere between the two ends of the spectrum. If you’ve found this blog post, you’ve certainly read plenty of pieces on this already. This one will not take a stance on said debate, one way or another.
What I will be discussing today is far more interesting, I think. Whatever you made of Bloom’s tenure, it is undeniable that whatever talent the team does have now is both a) very young and b) under team control for the foreseeable future. However, the path forward is not crystal clear — whereas almost every Red Sox fan agrees major improvement must happen this offseason, it’s difficult to say exactly how that happens. At the major league level, starting pitching is needed. That’s easy enough. But many feel a major reshuffle needs to happen on the defensive side of the ball as well. That’s far more difficult to achieve. Though the Sox inarguably have a plethora of good position players, they have very few slam-dunk, “set ’em and forget ’em,” two way anchors. Rafael Devers’ bat is so good that he’s worth his 300 million dollar contract regardless, but his glove is far from inspiring for long stretches. Triston Casas’ bat is phenomenal, and he should turn into an average or better first baseman with the glove down the line, but he is not that now. Trevor Story is a plus at shortstop with the glove, but he’s been anything but that at the plate since his return from injury. Those are the guys with the most certainty surrounding their role next season and the value they will likely add.
I say all this not to be a pessimist. Having lots of good-not-great assets is far from the worst position to be in. However, I think it’s worth sorting through what’s what in an attempt to create a sort of potential roadmap heading into the offseason. Let’s get started. You can find part one here. Happy reading.