By Tony Massarotti, 98.5 The Sports Hub
In the end, at least with regard to the 2020 major league trading deadline, the Red Sox ended up with this: pitchers Nick Pivetta and Connor Seabold, third baseman Hudson Potts, outfielder Jeisson Rosario, two players to be named and some international bonus money. There were no big names coming in the door or going out. The Red Sox basically traded tomatoes for tomato plants.
But then, these are the kinds of moves Chaim Bloom was hired to make.
Will these plants produce? Time will tell, of course, but if you were expecting something more dramatic at this trading deadline, there were no significant shakeups, unless you count Mitch Moreland (to San Diego) or Brandon Workman (to Philadelphia), the latter a secondary set-up man who became the Red Sox closer only because they didn’t have anything better. Jackie Bradley stayed, despite being eligible for free agency. J.D. Martinez stayed, despite being able to opt out of his contract. Andrew Benintendi stayed. And Christian Vazquez. And Nathan Eovaldi. And Matt Barnes.
All of this inevitably brings us to Chaim Bloom, the Red Sox’ chief baseball officer who has been called “a brilliant young mind” (Jeff Passan, ESPN), “a fantastic hire” (executives around the league, according to reporter Mark Feinsand) and “a great listener, processed and fair” (two former colleagues, according to longtime insider Peter Gammons). And yet, nobody knows what kind of organizational architect Bloom will become, no matter his title, because he just hasn’t done it yet.
So, to start, let’s be fair: it’s way too early to know yet if Bloom has a clue.
And at the same time, let’s be honest: not a single one of us knows yet if these moves were good, bad or meaningless.
Now, the media world being what it is, if you’re looking for any sort of narrative on the Chaim Bloom Era so far, this is it: he hasn’t exactly come out guns blazing. (Sorry, but the Mookie Betts deal wasn’t really his.) Bloom’s moves as Red Sox GM thus far have been small, conservative and boring … which is precisely what you’d expect from a team like, say, the Tampa Bay Rays, Bloom’s former employer. Whether those kinds of deals can pass muster in Boston over the longer term remains to be seen, particularly if the Red Sox remain relatively invisible on the Boston sports landscape.
Seriously, what is Red Sox ownership and management going to ask of Bloom this offseason? Are they just going to stand by and watch? Pandemic or no pandemic, TV ratings have dropped to generational lows. The road back to championship contention looks longer than ever. On the landscape of professional New England sports, the Red Sox might as well be the Revolution right now. That isn’t likely to change without at least some major shakeup in the offseason, be in it in the manager’s office or the on the roster or, ideally, both. (By the way, none of this is even remotely Ron Roenicke’s fault.)
So back to question: is the Bloom the guy? Will he be allowed to rebuild the Red Sox the way he wants, in the seeming image of the Tampa Bay Rays? Hell if I know. Hell if you do, either. But what I think we can all agree on is this: as important as it is for the Red Sox to rebuild their organization from the inside out – and it is critical – the Pivettas, Seabolds, Potts’ and Rosarios aren’t going to drive interest. For that, the Red Sox will need something bigger and bolder at some point relatively soon, and that means deviating from the plan.
And honestly, I just don’t know if Chaim Bloom is the guy to do it.