By Tony Massarotti, 98.5 The Sports Hub
This is why the Red Sox brought Chaim Bloom here in the first place, remember, so please don’t act surprised. The fate of Mookie Betts was sealed long ago. The question is whether Bloom got the right guys.
And so last night, after weeks, months and years of speculation about the future of Markus Lynn Betts, the Red Sox finally and inevitably pulled the trigger on a trade that – one way or another – will go down as one of the most significant in team history. Betts and David Price were sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a four-team trade that brought major league-ready outfielder Alex Verdugo and 21-year-old pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol (from Minnesota) to Boston, closing the book of Betts’ time here and indisputably marking the start of the Bloom Era.
We all know that Betts can play. We also know that he was effectively unsignable. We just need to find out if, all things considered, the Red Sox got anything for him.
And that’s going to take a while.
As for the outrage last night that the Red Sox traded their best player … please. Stop. Don’t act like this was a surprise. A couple of years ago, the Red Sox offered Mookie five years and $100 million when the market called for double that. Then they offered him $200 million when the market called for $300 million. Finally, before last season, the Red Sox offered Betts a $290 million contract and the player countered with $420 million, which meant the gap was getting wider.
Did Mookie want to be here? I say no, you say yes, others say maybe. But know this: there is one player in baseball who has received both the years (10 or more) and average annual value ($35 million plus) that Betts has asked for – and his name is Mike Trout. That’s it. Everyone else has had to sacrifice years or average annual salary, and the same will likely be true of Betts.
And again, before you get stupid … don’t. This really isn’t about the luxury tax. The Red Sox were facing D-Day with Betts no matter what their payroll is, was or will be. The real issue is that the Sox have no minor league system to speak of while having invested stupid money into contracts for, most recently, Nathan Eovaldi and Chris Sale. At some point, no matter who you are, the money gets tight.
All of this brings us back to Bloom, who was hired last fall to do what Dave Dombrowski did not – specifically, to formulate and execute a longer-term plan that actually has some vision. Sure, Dombrowski won a World Series here, but he generally did it with someone else’s prospects and someone else's money. He wasn’t exactly an idea guy. Most any of us could have identified the players Dombrowski traded and traded for because they were all on a chart of the best players or prospects available. All he ever did was play the hits.
But Bloom? Bloom is supposed to be new-age, a visionary, Ivy League-educated and on the cutting edge. He is supposed to see value where others see none. In Tampa, Bloom was part of an organization forced to trade, among others, both third baseman Evan Longoria and pitcher Chris Archer for younger, cheaper, untapped talent. In the case of Longoria, he came up dry. In the case of Archer, he hit the jackpot. Where he ends up on the Betts deal will help define his tenure as the chief baseball officer of the Red Sox, however long it should be, whatever the clunky corporate title.
And so, as much as you are lamenting the loss of Betts and torching Red Sox ownership – as always, you certainly have the right to do so – here is what you should be really be doing today: you should be wondering about Bloom, who is not staging a room in Tampa anymore with folding chairs and tables. This is Boston. These are the Red Sox. And though baseball isn’t what it used to be, the rugs and furniture are still far more expensive and there is far more foot traffic.
Does Chaim Bloom really know what he is doing? Did the Red Sox get even remotely decent value for Mookie, even if Betts did have just one year remaining on his contract? Are the Red Sox merely cycling through another GM (and manager) since the departure of Theo Epstein, or are they actually building something again with a longer-term, more sustainable model?
We’re about to starting finding out.
In the meantime, don’t waste your time worrying about what the Red Sox just shipped away.
And start worrying about what’s here.