What will we do now that we don’t have Chaim Bloom to kick around anymore?
Bloom, a good and decent man who was neither ready nor equipped to run a big-market baseball team, was fired by the Red Sox before Thursday’s day-night doubleheader with the Yankees. The record will show that the Red Sox finished last in two of Bloom’s three full seasons and were tied for last on the day he was fired.
Bloom was asked to do the impossible when the Red Sox hired him from Tampa Bay in October of 2019. Ownership wanted him to win at the major league level, but also wanted him to cut payroll (get the team under the luxury-tax threshold) and rebuild a deteriorating farm system.
Bloom ultimately succeeded in two of the three areas. He got the Sox under the tax this season as the player payroll — ranked first in all of baseball when Bloom was hired — dropped to 13th in 2023. Meanwhile, the depleted farm system improved and in August was ranked fifth-best in MLB by Baseball America.
But Bloom failed to win at the major league level — which is the only thing most fans care about. Ultimately, having three non-contenders in four seasons was too much for Sox ownership to stomach.
Red Sox owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner fired Bloom in a face-to-face meeting at Fenway Thursday morning. The Sox released a statement at 12:27 p.m. announcing the “departure” of Bloom, then made CEO Sam Kennedy available for questions at Fenway at 12:45. This gave NESN a television exclusive.
“There’s blame to go around,” Kennedy acknowledged. “There’s blame on me. Our ownership. The on-field staff deserves blame. I’m sure some of the players would say they haven’t performed up to expectations. We all fell short of our collective goal, so there’s a lot of blame to go around.”
Alex Cora and his players are asked to explain themselves every day. Bloom faced the fire on a regular basis. Kennedy, too.
But Kennedy is not the man who hired or fired Bloom. That man is John Henry.
Early Thursday, all we got from Henry (who also owns the Globe) was a single paragraph with words about “a new direction for our club,” and “appreciation and respect for the kind of person [Bloom] is . . . ”
In the more things change department, it turns out Tom Yawkey was similarly unavailable for comment when he fired Red Sox general manager Pinky Higgins on Sept. 16, 1965, after 1,247 “filled” Fenway for Dave Morehead’s Thursday afternoon no-hitter against Cleveland. Pinky’s Sox lost 100 and finished ninth. Downright Bloom-esque.
It’s fair to say that Bloom failed as a “chief baseball officer” in Boston. He didn’t get enough in return for Mookie Betts, he didn’t have an eye for big league talent ($140 million for Trevor Story?), he annually did almost zero at the trade deadline, and the record is likely to show that he finished last three times in four seasons. He was never a big, bold thinker. He couldn’t pull the trigger.
Bloom’s tenure saw considerable drop-off in fan interest as the Sox lurched toward irrelevance in a competitive sports market. Boston’s beleaguered baseball boss seemed to care more about his coveted draft picks than the success of the major league team. He gave Cora a misfit roster sprinkled with spare parts (Franchy Cordero?) forced to play out of position. He left Cora without enough healthy arms on multiple occasions.
The Tampa Bay Way failed miserably in Boston. But by no means is Bloom the only guy to blame for this Red Sox mess.
Ownership pivoted after firing Dave Dombrowski in 2019. Things changed on Jersey Street. There would be no more unilateral power and unlimited budget for the new chief baseball officer.
Bloom is not the one who decided the Sox wouldn’t pay market value for Betts or Xander Bogaerts. You think he didn’t want to keep Kyle Schwarber, Michael Wacha, J.D. Martinez, or Nathan Eovaldi?
“Those of us in the ownership group, myself included, share responsibility and blame always,” said Kennedy. “We’re a team. We’re an organization that works very collaboratively together.”
It’s kind of Kennedy to say this, but while the Sox stumbled to the bottom in 2020, ‘22, and ‘23, Bloom was the perfect Fenway piñata.
And now he’s gone.
So who gets the blame moving forward?
Read more about Chaim Bloom’s firing
- Red Sox fire chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom as team wraps another disappointing season
- Would Theo Epstein return to the Red Sox? Here’s what Sam Kennedy had to say.
- Nine takeaways from Red Sox president Sam Kennedy’s press conference after Chaim Bloom’s firing