Making sense of the Red Sox's trade deadline moves as atlanta braves gray jersey the club fights for a wild card

August 4, 2022 By Kevin Skiver 0

It's no secret that MLB teams are, more than ever, run with surgical precision. Myriad factors have led to players being valued as "assets," not least the ruthless scalpel of the Rays, who have found success while being scrupulous with their payroll.

Tampa Bay's tendrils have extended throughout the league. More and more teams have adopted the franchise's team-building style. Two ex-Rays executives stand out as they helm two of the most storied clubs in the sport: Andrew Friedman is president of baseball operations for the Dodgers and Chaim Bloom is chief baseball officer of the Red Sox. Bloom is the more important person here.

Friedman has taken the seemingly unlimited resources of Guggenheim Baseball Management and adopted an ambitious payroll structure. The Dodgers are aggressive in pursuing other teams' players, both in trades and free agency, and their hit rate is exceptional.

Bloom, meanwhile, is still finding his footing with the Red Sox as he deals with an impatient fan base that wants immediate results. His patient approach to fielding teams is at odds with the franchise's success since the turn of the century.

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Who is Chaim Bloom?

Bloom was hired by the Red Sox in October 2019 to succeed Dave Dombrowski as team president, after four seasons as the Rays' vice president of baseball operations. He followed the "Rays Way" player development manual that Friedman helped to author.

Red Sox owner John Henry was glowing in his praise of Bloom after hiring him.

"We believe Chaim is exactly the right person to lead the Boston Red Sox baseball operation based on a number of attributes we sought in this process," Henry said. "We had done exhaustive work narrowing down candidates. That work led us to Chaim, who was the first executive invited to Boston for an interview. He made a strong impression on all of us and validated our initial research that he was the one to lead our baseball operation."

Bloom had interviewed for other top executive positions before joining the Red Sox, including the Mets and Giants in 2018, the Twins in 2016, and the Phillies and Brewers Mike Trout Angels Jerseys in 2015.

During that time, his resume was growing. Bloom's Rays teams were more competitive than anticipated. In 2019, the Rays finally broke through and returned to the playoffs, losing to the Astros in the ALDS.

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The Red Sox won the World Series in 2018 and fielded some of the highest-paid rosters in baseball under Dombrowski. They had the highest payroll in the game in 2019. Henry brought in Bloom to cut costs and still field competitive teams.

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What moves did the Red Sox make at the trade deadline?

The Red Sox's plan at the trade deadline was, frankly, confusing. With Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez being potential fre atlanta braves jersey mens e agents, it was assumed that one of the two might move. Bogaerts said that management assured him he wasn't going anywhere, which made Martinez the most likely rental piece to be moved.

And Boston began the deadline looking like a seller. It traded stalwart catcher Christian Vazquez to the Astros for two prospects, a very Rays move. Vazquez is also a free-agent-to-be, and he got emotional when it became clear he was being traded.

But then the Red Sox acquired catcher Reese McGuire from the White Sox for reliever Jake Diekman. McGuire will now be paired with Kevin Plawecki for the final two months of the season. Later that night on Aug. 1, the Sox upgraded their corner outfield by trading for the Reds' Tommy Pham. But it was confusing to see that move made after Boston traded Vazquez and acquired McGuire.

On deadline day, the Red Sox acquired first baseman Eric Hosmer from the Padres, who needed to dump the veteran after he rejected a move to the Nationals as part of the Juan Soto trade. Boston sent left-hander Jay Groome to San Diego. The Padres will pay almost all of Hosmer's remaining salary (a reported $44 million from now through the 2025 season), mYasiel Puig eaning the Red Sox got to fill a need virtually free. But Hosmer can opt out of his contract after the 2022 season and become a free agent.

Did these trades make the Red Sox better?

These deals did improve the team. The Red Sox needed corner outfield help and they needed to get the Franchy Cordero-Bobby Dalbec first base tandem out of the lineup. Pham and Hosmer addressed both needs.

But the moves don't move the needle that much for a Red Sox team that has been flaiChristian Yelichling since the All-Star Break but is somehow still chasing a wild-card spot.

“I think there’s a lot of different things we were trying to accomplish. We wanted to give this group a chance at the postseason," Bloom told reporters Tuesday after the deadline, per "I do think they have that chance. People who felt this group was good enough to make a run at it a few days ago, in my opinion, should still feel that way. This group looks a little different, but I don’t think it’s any less talented."

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Now we've reached the crux of the Chaim Bloom problem in Boston: For as good an executive as he is, his team-building ways aren't simpatico with a franchise with the Red Sox's history. In fairness to him, the team is on track to pay a sma atlanta braves jersey shirts women ll luxury tax this season ($239.4 million payroll, per Spotrac, with the tax threshold being $230 million). But the Red Sox becoming a laughingstock on the field immediately before the deadline and then taking half-measures to address their needs won't sit well with the fans.

The Red Sox need pop in their order; Hosmer has eight home runs this year and has hit the ball on the ground 58 percent of the time. Pham can hit the ball in the air, but he has just an 87 OPS+. With other outfielders on the market, the Red Sox, it seems, could have been more aggressive.

And Bloom is also hamstrung by ownership. Trading Mookie Betts to Friedman's Dodgers in 2020 was Bloom's first major move in Boston. It was emblematic of what he was brought in to do: cut costs and still field a team that can compete, even if it isn't winning championships. That's the Rays' M.O. too.

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What does this mean for the Red Sox in the future?

It's no acciden atlanta braves mitchell ness jersey t Betts was dealt about a month after his record-setting $27 million arbitration settlement. That agreement was struck while Henry was talking about cutting costs. The episode served as a blueprint for what the franchise may do moving forward.

The Red Sox currently have about $129 million committe atlanta braves personalized jersey d for 2023. The tax threshold will be $233 million.

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If Bogaerts opts out of the remaining three years and $60 million of his contract — something that is considered a given at this point — they'll have to decide whether to re-sign him for a large sum. They'll also need to pay Rafael Devers a substantial amount in arbitration, and he can walk after next season. Management will find it very difficult to retain the faces of the franchise if it keeps heading in the direction of being cost-conscious.

What was the immediate fallout from the deadline?

Bogaerts, who came up through the Red Sox organization, seemed despondent over Bloom's moves.

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"I wouldn't say waved the white flag," he said Tuesday, per MassLive's Chris Cotillo. "But that's a big piece [Vazquez] going out before all of us expected or hoped that someone was coming in. . . . It was a big move, it was a big piece of the team, yes. But it was at least trending in that direction, if you ask me. We got a couple good players back. We'll see how it goes."

While that wasn't meant as a shot at Hosmer or Pham, it certainly wasn't a ringing endorsement, either. Bloom took note.

“I saw some of the things that he said. Even independent of that, he’s the first guy I want to talk to, really, in this clubhouse,” Bloom said, per MassLive. "He was going through his pregame routine that I didn’t want to disrupt so we talked very briefly. But we’ll talk.

"I’d rather talk to him first. I don’t want to read anything into a comment made in the heat of the moment when things are really raw without having a conversation with him."

What's ahead for the Red Sox long term?

Boston is 53-53 after losing to the Astros on Wednesday. It's 17 games behind the first-place Yankees in the American League East and three games behind the Rays for the last wild-card spot in the AL.

Moving forward, the organization will have to decide what it wants to be: a team that moves on from big names because they're too expensive? Or a team with franchise cornerstones like Pedro Martinez and David Ortiz?

The question doesn't have to be answered right away, but it does need to be answered MLB Shoes and Socks soon. Last offseason, Bloom's big move was to sign free agent Trevor Story to a six-year, $140 million contract. This coming offseason, more major names, including several top starting pitchers, will be hitting the market. Boston will need to decide what moves it is comfortable making.

Henry and Bloom can find a balance. If they don't want the Red Sox to be among the top-spending teams, then so be it. But if Freddie Freeman Dodgers Jerseys they try to become the Rays, then opposing voices will only get louder. It's one thing to make hard roster choices; it's entirely another thing to reduce players whom fans are passionate about to mere assets.

The Rays have been Lucy with the football for years. They made a World Series but haven't won enough with their model. If Henry and Bloom keep pulling the ball away from Red Sox fans, eventually they're going to get kicked in the head.