With the trade deadline approaching next week, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom met with reporters for approximately 36 minutes at Fenway Park on Wednesday.
He was careful to speak in generalities and not label the Sox as buyers or sellers.
But there was one bit of harsh truth that could not be denied when discussing what path the team will take.
“Look, we’re a .500 club playing a tough schedule and we’re in last place,” Bloom said. “That is a fact. That’s where we are. We have to factor that in.”
A few hours later, the Sox were under .500 at 49-50 after a 7-6 loss against the Cleveland Guardians. The Sox, languishing in last place in the American League East, have lost 15 of 19.
Bad as it has been, Bloom sought to downplay the recent results.
“I think to really dictate the course of an organization over a handful of games [is] usually not the right course,” he said. “So we’re going to factor in obviously where we are. It makes sense to do that at some level.
“But in the big picture, when you look at what we’re trying to do, when you think about winning a lot, you think about winning this year, you think about winning for a long time, that’s bigger than any one week of games.”
The industry perception is the Sox will straddle the line and trade some of their veteran players on expiring contracts — J.D. Martinez, for example — while using their improved prospect inventory on moves that would boost the team for 2023 and beyond.
Bloom did not shy from that notion.
“We have spent time, as we do every year, exploring a lot of different possibilities, some of them for a shorter-term possibility, some of them longer-term possibilities,” he said. “I think we’re not doing our jobs if we don’t try to look at everything . . . some of them are going to be exactly what people expect, and some of them might not.”
To what degree the days leading up to Tuesday’s deadline would change anything seems doubtful. The Sox need upgrades in the rotation, bullpen, outfield and first base.
They also have yet to win a series against an American League East team and the playoff field at the moment would include the Yankees, Blue Jays and Rays.
Bloom also reiterated that there is no intention to trade shortstop Xander Bogaerts or third baseman Rafael Devers despite both players having rejected contract extensions in spring training.
Bogaerts has the right to opt out of his contract after this season. Devers will be eligible for free agency after the 2023 season.
“I look at what we’re trying to accomplish and just the stature that those guys have, not just for our fans, but also for what it means for what we’re trying to accomplish,” Bloom said.
“I know it’s hard at this time of year; but trying to at least minimize whatever potential distraction that can cause. So, just said the truth, that we hadn’t discussed them with anyone and we’re not planning on it.”
Executives spent the first three weeks of the month occupied by the amateur draft. Trade talks, Bloom said, have picked up in recent days.
“I obviously can only speak to what our own experience is and don’t necessarily know everything that’s going on out there. I would expect that the bulk of the action is going to wait until the last couple days,” he said.
“That’s just increasingly what we’re seeing. It usually takes a deadline to really get all of us moving. But now is when it’s really intensifying.”
Less than a year after the Sox played in the American League Championship Series, Bloom is under pressure get the team going in the right direction.
“In the big picture, we’re trying to give our fans exactly what they want, this is a winning product, something they can be proud of every year and try to give them championships,” he said.
“We’re not necessarily going to do that by giving them what they want in the moment if we did a fan poll about every move. So when it comes to those specific moves, I don’t think we can worry about that.
“As long as we feel in our heart of hearts that we’re doing the right thing to deliver what we ultimately owe our fans and what they want, which is a championship-caliber product on an annual basis.”