Image credit: Chaim Bloom (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
The Red Sox fired chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom on Thursday morning, bringing an end to his tenure leading the Red Sox after nearly four seasons.
The Red Sox hired Bloom from the Rays after the 2019 season to replace Dave Dombrowski, who led the Red Sox to a 2018 World Series title but was fired less than a year later. The Red Sox had two last-place finishes under Bloom wrapped around an ALCS appearance in 2021 and currently sit in fourth place in the AL East after losing six of their last seven games. Overall, the Red Sox went 267-262 during Bloom’s tenure.
“While parting ways is not taken lightly, today signals a new direction for our club,” Red Sox owner John Henry said in a statement. “Our organization has significant expectations on the field and while Chaim’s efforts in revitalizing our baseball infrastructure have helped set the stage for the future, we will today begin a search for new leadership. Everyone who knows Chaim has a deep appreciation and respect for the kind of person he is. His time with us will always be marked by his professionalism, integrity, and an unwavering respect for our club and its legacy.”
Bloom’s time in Boston was defined by his decision to trade star outfielder Mookie Betts to the Dodgers before the 2020 season with one year remaining on Betts’ contract and Red Sox ownership prioritizing financial flexibility.
Betts led the Dodgers to a 2020 World Series championship and has remained one of baseball’s best players since the trade. Of the three players the Red Sox received in return, outfielder Alex Verdugo has been solid but unspectacular and faced repeated disciplinary issues and infielder Jeter Downs was designated for assignment in December 2022. Catcher Connor Wong became the team’s primary catcher this year, but he’s hit just .245 over three partial seasons.
Within months of Bloom taking the job, the coronavirus pandemic delayed the 2020 season, manager Alex Cora was suspended for one year as punishment for his role in the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal and the Red Sox were stripped of a second-round draft pick for their own sign-stealing infractions in 2018. The events conspired to make for a difficult starting place for Bloom, who nonetheless set about improving the organization’s internal talent pipeline in an attempt to lay the foundation for a consistent and renewable winner.
In some ways, he was successful. The Red Sox’s farm system improved from No. 30 in 2019 to No. 10 entering this season. Homegrown talents Triston Casas, Brayan Bello and Jarren Duran were all drafted or signed prior to Bloom’s arrival but successfully matriculated under his watch. Prospects Nick Yorke, Marcelo Mayer and Roman Anthony were all drafted under Bloom and have shown promise in the minors. The selection of Garret Whitlock away from the rival Yankees in 2020 has proven to be one of the better Rule 5 draft picks in recent years, and the signing of Masataka Yoshida out of Japan last winter has proven astute despite doubts about the move.
But most of Bloom’s most prominent moves failed, ultimately outweighing those positives. In addition to the Betts’ trade, the Red Sox signed Trevor Story to a six-year, $140 million contract despite longstanding concerns about the health of his elbow. Story has hit just .226/.285/.400 in 123 games with the Red Sox and missed most of this year after having UCL surgery in January. The team failed to make a competitive offer to extend star shortstop Xander Bogaerts when they had the opportunity, and Bogaerts signed with the Padres as a free agent before this year.
Beyond those individual miscalculations, the Red Sox have perennially fielded one of MLB’s worst defenses under Bloom’s watch and the team has consistently struggled to build a competitive rotation during his tenure.
In Bloom’s four seasons, Red Sox starters have ranked 25th, 17th, 22nd and 23rd in ERA.
Now, the Red Sox will turn to new leadership. The club announced general manager Brian O’Halloran has been offered a new position in the baseball operations department. In the meantime, O’Halloran, and assistant general managers Eddie Romero, Raquel Ferreira, and Michael Groopman will run the club’s day to day operations.