By Tony Massarotti, 98.5 The Sports Hub
Let’s not pretend that we know what Chaim Bloom is – or will be – because the truth is that we don’t have a clue. Sometimes, there is just no way to know how someone will perform until he (or she) is in the actual position.
The idea, of course, is that Bloom will be to the Red Sox now what Theo Epstein was in 2003, even if the Sox are dissuading us from making those comparisons. But we’ll see.
In the interim, know this: Bloom comes with Epstein’s seal of approval, which should tell you plenty as to how the Sox still feel about Epstein’s capabilities. Theo works for the Chicago Cubs, but he’s always kept one eye on the Red Sox since leaving the team following the 2011 season, and he remains close to Sox president Sam Kennedy, who grew up with Epstein in Brookline.
The point is that Epstein still cares about the Red Sox and always will, if for no other reason than the fact that he was born into it.
“Frankly, I talked to Theo a lot during the process, as did Tom [Werner] at one point, just to do some digging on Chaim – and he couldn’t have been more supportive,” Kennedy told Sean McAdam of the Boston Sports Journal. “He said, ‘If you’re going to look at someone outside the organization, Chaim is someone you should target and you shouldn’t waste time. You should go and get him.’ ”
So the Red Sox did, regardless of whether they had interest in Epstein, Andrew Friedman or Billy Beane, among others. (And they did.) Everything about Bloom screams long term, from his age (36) to his history with the Tampa Bay Rays, who have no choice but to pump out young players.
But does that mean Bloom will succeed? Hell no. Ben Cherington felt like a good long-term hire, too. Maybe he would have proven to be. But in the two years after Cherington led the Red Sox to the 2013 World Series title, the Red Sox finished last. (He never made it to the end of 2015.) Cherington seemed a little too passive at times and at least operated without some of the gumption necessary to make bold maneuvers. At the very least, it certainly felt that way.
Now here’s the good news: in Bloom, the Red Sox at least seem to be going back to the model they possessed under Epstein, who guided them from 2003-2011. During that span, the Red Sox won more games than any team but the New York Yankees. Along with the St. Louis Cardinals, they won more World Series than anyone else (two). They went to four American League Championship Series and made the playoffs six times.
Was it perfect? No. But it was far more consistent than it has been since. Since the start of 2011, the Red Sox have had four heads of their baseball operation (Epstein, Cherington, Dave Dombrowski and Bloom) and four managers (Terry Francona, Bobby Valentine, John Farrell and Alex Cora). That wheel needs to stop spinning because, quite simply, we’re all getting nauseous.
As for Bloom’s first day on the job yesterday, let’s cut the guy a break. He wasn’t going to come out and tell us that the team expected J.D. Martinez to opt out or that they will trade Mookie Betts. That would have been foolish. We all know what challenges face him and the Red Sox in the short term and the long. And the only way to know whether Bloom is the man to lead the Red Sox back to a more stable existence is to watch him actually do it.
As for those who tell you otherwise, well, they’re the ones who don’t have a clue.