scorecardresearch Skip to main content
On baseball

How will the Red Sox’ Chaim Bloom be judged? His decision on Xander Bogaerts — and others — will help determine that.

Chaim Bloom could have taken the $90 million spent on Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida and been competitive for shortstop Xander Bogaerts.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

SAN DIEGO — A baseball executive is only as good as his or her ability to judge players and place the correct value on their talents. Everything else is superfluous.

Theo Epstein understood an expensive player such as Jon Lester could deliver a championship for the Cubs. But he also saw the worth of less-appreciated players such as Kevin Millar and Bill Mueller to the Red Sox.

Make enough of the right choices and you’ll have a plaque in Cooperstown, as Epstein surely will someday. Make too many wrong ones and you’ll be looking for work.

The events of the last few days will go a long way in telling which way this is going for Chaim Bloom. The exit polls aren’t promising.


Bloom’s valuation of Xander Bogaerts did not match that of the Padres, Cubs, Twins, and at least one or two other teams. Going back to March, Bloom was firm about that.

Agents make their own evaluations, too, based largely on the level of interest shown by teams.

The gap between the Padres and the Red Sox was so wide that Scott Boras stopped negotiating with Bloom on Wednesday and made a deal with Padres general manager A.J. Preller. There was no rancor, they simply disagreed on what Bogaerts was worth.

At the same time, the Sox aligned with Boras on a five-year, $90 million deal for Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida.

This was the inverse of the Bogaerts negotiations. Yoshida had a 45-day window to sign with a major league team and agents typically wait out the process to see if market forces improve their client’s value.

Boras slammed the window shut in less than a day because the Red Sox placed such a high value on Yoshida when compared with other teams. There was no reason to wait, so wide was that gap.


The deal was a record for a Japanese position player.

A group of Japanese reporters at the Winter Meetings met with Boras late Wednesday night. He joked that the negotiations for Yoshida came at the speed of a bullet train in Japan.

How will Bloom and John Henry respond to losing Bogaerts?Jim Davis/Globe Staff

“Normally in markets you have an evaluation that you believe is correct and we had an evaluation of his skills,” he said. “When a team reaches that both in years and the [financial] evaluation, it’s really something that is very positive.

“We knew his skill set would perform at very high levels at [Fenway Park] and the team did, too.”

Perhaps the 5-foot-8-inch, 176-pound Yoshida will be the Japanese version of Dustin Pedroia and spray the ball around the field. Or maybe he’ll be just an ordinary player, like Seiya Suzuki was for the Cubs last season.

Bloom could have taken that $90 million and been competitive for Bogaerts. He chose Yoshida. We’ll see where that goes.

Earlier on Wednesday, it was a bad look for Bloom that the first pick of the Rule 5 Draft was Red Sox Double A righthander Thad Ward, who is now a member of the Nationals. Bloom decided to leave Ward unprotected while keeping the likes of Kaleb Ort on the 40-man roster.

“[Ward] was probably our toughest decision as we set rosters,” Bloom said.

And so it goes. Christian Vázquez, a player Bloom shipped to Houston for two prospects with low ceilings, has an active market as a free agent and could land a three-year deal.


The return on the Andrew Benintendi trade in 2021 now looks blah at best.

The Mookie Betts trade was more about the money and unloading David Price. But was Alex Verdugo, whose commitment to success can be fleeting, the best they could do for a player who is now the face of his sport?

In hindsight, Bloom’s valuation of Xander Bogaerts did not match that of the Padres, Cubs, Twins, and at least one or two other teams.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Now Bogaerts, who passed his physical on Thursday, will be introduced at Petco Park on Friday.

Bloom will be judged on how all his moves shake out and that takes time. Maybe he will be proven right.

But as the Sox build an increasingly anonymous roster, there are only so many tourists who can visit Fenway Park.

The Yankees surely can’t be comfortable about what Aaron Judge will give them eight or nine years from now, but Brian Cashman understands where he works. There’s a lot to be said for that.

Peter Abraham can be reached at Follow him @PeteAbe.