By Matt McCarthy, 985TheSportsHub.com
Chaim Bloom is good hire for the Red Sox.
Just don’t let them tell you he was the man they wanted for the job all along.
The Red Sox tried to land a big fish to run their baseball operations this offseason. But in the end, all of the top candidates for the job said no.
Andrew Friedman stayed in LA, Theo Epstein didn’t return to Boston, Jed Hoyer said no, Mike Hazen opted for an extension in Arizona, and Twins Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey, a Lynn native, passed on a chance to return home as well.
John Henry wanted an experienced external candidate. None of those candidates wanted the Red Sox, and for good reason. Why would an established GM want a job with a documented lack of job security?
The 36-year-old Rays Senior Vice President was a backup plan, but that doesn’t mean that backup plans are a bad way to go. The greatest general manager in Red Sox history was a backup plan.
Let’s not forget that Epstein never would have taken over the reins in 2002 had Billy Beane decided at the last minute not to come east from Oakland. The Red Sox thought they had their man and then they didn’t. Two weeks later, Epstein became general manager and the rest, as they say, is history.
That’s not to say that Bloom will be as successful as Epstein, which is a nearly impossible task, but there’s no reason to think he can’t do a good job.
He is regarded by many in the game as one of the brightest young executives in the league and he has spent nearly his entire career working on a shoestring budget. Now, Bloom will be handed $200 million to work with. He can afford to make a mistake or two, a luxury the Rays don’t have.
It’s safe to say the Rays haven’t made many mistakes in recent years. Bloom was not the ultimate decision maker in Tampa, but it’s hard to argue with their organizational track record.
The Rays have excelled at evaluating talent on other teams. There has arguably been no organization better in baseball in finding undervalued players across the game in recent years, especially pitchers. When it’s come to big trades, the Rays have been successful too, picking up a resounding victory in the 2018 Chris Archer deal by acquiring Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows from the Pirates.
Let’s hope Bloom can repeat that success in Boston, and quickly. His first move in charge of the Red Sox might be to find a trade partner for Mookie Betts. The immediate future of the franchise likely hinges getting the right players in return for the reigning American League MVP.
No pressure, kid.
Needless to say, this job won’t be easy. Bloom will have to cut more than $30 million in payroll from last year’s team, will have to stabilize a pitching staff with major health concerns across the board, and has to find a way to improve a mostly barren farm system.
But he seems like a smart, capable, and creative executive. That’s what the Red Sox need moving into 2020 and beyond.
Just don’t tell me he was Plan A. He wasn’t.