As a devoted Boston Red Sox fan, I am beyond frustrated and disappointed with the way things have gone this off-season. When Chaim Bloom was hired as the Chief Baseball Officer in 2019, I had hoped that he would be able to turn things around for the Red Sox. Unfortunately, it's become clear that he is completely out of his depth in this role.
To make matters worse, Bloom's previous role was as the Vice President of Baseball Operations for the Tampa Bay Rays, a team with a payroll that was routinely around $50 million, compared to the Red Sox's payroll of $180-200 million. How is someone who has experience working with such a small budget supposed to understand how to properly manage a team with a much larger financial commitment? It's no wonder things have been a disaster under Bloom's leadership.
The loss of homegrown shortstop Xander Bogaerts has been especially painful for Red Sox fans. Bogaerts had been with the team since he was 16, and was a key member of the squad, helping them win the 2013 and 2018 World Series titles. He was a 6-time all-star, 4-time silver slugger, and consistently one of the top shortstops in the league since he entered the MLB in 2013. Despite stating that resigning Bogaerts was their "#1 priority" this offseason, the Red Sox's final offer to him was reported "really far" from the 11-year, $280 million contract he received from the San Diego Padres.
Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe tweeted, “the Red Sox did not finish, second, third or maybe even fourth. Via various sources, there were 3-4 other teams willing to go to $200M+ on Bogaerts. He wowed teams in interviews.”
This is all the more frustrating for Red Sox fans because the team had consistently low-balled Bogaerts with offers in the past, trying to get him at a discount rather than paying him what he was worth on the open market. It's clear that Bloom and the Red Sox front office had no intention of truly making Bogaerts a priority, and now we've lost a player who was a cornerstone of our team for nearly a decade.
Another player who has been a major disappointment for Red Sox fans is Trevor Story, who was signed to a 6-year, $140 million contract last offseason. However, his first season in Boston was a major letdown, as he played only 94 games while batting .238 with 16 home runs, and missed time due to injuries. With Bogaerts gone, Story will move back to shortstop, his position with the Colorado Rockies from 2016-2021. It's frustrating to see so much money being invested in a player who hasn't performed up to expectations, and it's a clear sign that Bloom and the front office made a mistake in signing him.
Red Sox fans are now worried that third baseman Rafael Devers will be the next homegrown star to leave the team. The Red Sox have stated that extending Devers is their new "#1 priority," but with other players signing major contracts for $200-300 million, it's uncertain whether the Red Sox will be able or willing to keep him. A report from The New York Post stated that the Red Sox were offering Devers in the mid $200 million, but his $300 million asking price now seems reasonable considering he's four years younger than Bogaerts. It's a scary thought to consider losing another player who has been with the team for so long and is so important to our success.
Aside from the loss of Bogaerts and the disappointment of Story, the Red Sox have made several questionable moves (or lack thereof) this offseason. While other teams are locking up major players to long-term contracts, the Red Sox have largely been inactive. Despite rumors that they were interested in resigning DH J.D. Martinez, he ended up signing a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers instead.
As a Red Sox fan, it's been tough to watch the team make a series of questionable moves this off-season. It's clear that the front office is trying to make a splash and compete, but it feels like they're grasping at straws instead of making smart, calculated moves.
First, there's the signing of Masataka Yoshida to a massive five-year, $90 million contract. While he's a talented player who has had success in Japan, he's a complete unknown in the MLB and there are serious doubts about whether he'll be able to make the transition to the big leagues. It's hard not to see this move as a desperate attempt to fill the hole left by Xander Bogaerts, who the team couldn't come to terms with last spring training. And to make matters worse, the Red Sox had to designate Jeter Downs for assignment to make room for Yoshida, which is a tough pill to swallow considering Downs was a key piece of the Mookie Betts trade that also brought Alex Verdugo to Boston.
The Red Sox also brought in 35-year-old closer Kenley Jansen on a two-year deal. While it's great to finally have a proven closer, there are concerns about how well Jansen will perform at his age and with the new pitch clock rules and larger bases. It's also worth noting that he's coming off a season in which he led the league in saves, but there are concerns about his long-term viability.
It's also frustrating to see the team designate Eric Hosmer for assignment, after coming over from the Padres at last years trade deadline, the move left some head scratching since his entire contract was being paid by the Padres after the move was necessitated following the team’s acquisition of Juan Soto. However, his departure opens the door for rookie Tristan Casas to take over at first full time, but there are still a lot of questions about his offensive production and durability. Instead, the Red Sox decided to sign Justin Turner to a one-year deal, which feels like a short-term fix rather than a long-term solution.
And then there's the starting rotation, which is a complete mess heading into the 2022 season. Chris Sale is the supposed ace of the staff, but he's been plagued by injuries since signing his massive extension in 2019 and has yet to pitch a full, healthy season for the Red Sox. The rest of the rotation is filled with question marks as well, including Nick Pivetta, who struggled mightily in 2022, Garret Whitlock, who has durability concerns, and James Paxton, who missed all of 2022 with injuries. The only bright spot is rookie Brayan Bello, who has a lot of promise but is unproven at the MLB level. The Red Sox could potentially bring back Nathan Eovaldi or Michael Wacha, but either way, the rotation looks like it will be a major weakness for the team.
All in all, it's hard to have much faith in the Red Sox heading into the 2022 season. While there are some promising pieces in place, there are just too many question marks and concerns to feel confident about the team's chances. It's frustrating to see the front office making such questionable moves when it feels like they're trying to compete on the cheap rather than making the tough, smart decisions that will lead to long-term success. As a Red Sox fan, it's hard not to feel let down by the direction of the team and the lack of clear vision from the front office.
As a fan, it can be difficult to separate our emotions and personal feelings about a team from the objective reality of their performance. When our favorite team is struggling, it's natural to want to place blame on someone or something and to search for someone to hold accountable. In this case, it seems that Chaim Bloom and his actions as the Red Sox's general manager have come under scrutiny.
However, it's important to remember that building a successful team is a complex process and there are often many factors at play. While it's tempting to simplify things and point to a single person or decision as the reason for a team's struggles, the reality is often more nuanced. It's possible that Bloom has a plan in place to improve the team and that it just takes time to see results.
As fans, it's important to try to maintain a balanced perspective and to not let our emotions cloud our judgment. While it's okay to express frustration or disappointment, it's important to remember that our favorite teams are made up of people who are working hard and doing their best to succeed. Ultimately, the success or failure of a team is the result of the combined efforts of many individuals, and it's important to keep that in mind as we navigate the ups and downs of being a fan