TORONTO — With movie and television writers on strike, the Red Sox are the closest thing we have to a new episode of “Succession.” The palace intrigue is so thick at Fenway Park you have to brush it away from your face.
Chaim Bloom was fired because somebody had to be fired. The Sox are no better than the third-most interesting team in town behind the Patriots and Celtics, and that might be slighting the Bruins and Revolution.
Outside of Chris Sale, Rafael Devers, and a few others, most Red Sox players could walk through Copley Square without being stopped for autographs.
Ultimately, Bloom had to go so the Sox could sell their customers on a new baseball boss coming in with fresh ideas about winning. Otherwise it would be more booing at Winter Weekend and twice as many media folks covering Patriots OTAs than actual games at Fenway Park.
So who’s next? The Sox always seem to run a reverse when they make a big hire. Manager Terry Francona was too close to the players, so they hired Bobby Valentine to get tough. That flopped, so they hired someone the players wanted in John Farrell.
Ben Cherington, an inexperienced general manager, was replaced by Dave Dombrowski, who had 28 years on the job. Dombrowski was replaced by a rookie in Bloom.
So this time the arrow points toward experience and candidates who have already run a team or were at least second in command.
That could mean trying to lure president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti or general manager Mike Chernoff away from the Guardians.
Both are long shots to leave Cleveland. But Red Sox president Sam Kennedy once worked in sales at WFAN in New York when Chernoff’s father, Mark, was program director.
The Sox could check whether GM David Forst would leave Oakland for a chance to win. Maybe Mike Hazen would end his tenure with the Diamondbacks to come home to the Sox and Massachusetts.
Matt Arnold (Brewers) and Thad Levine (Twins) seem set in their positions but are worth making inquiries about.
It’s that or a retread GM or one of the intelligent and savvy assistant GMs with an eye on running their own team.
Within Fenway Park, there was a feeling that while Bloom was well-intentioned and did the needed hard work to improve the inner workings of baseball operations, his lack of experience was difficult to overcome.
Under Bloom, the Sox had a reputation among other teams of being frustrating to deal with because of his ultra-deliberative process. The indecision at the trade deadline the last two seasons was reflective of that.
Perhaps it was an offhand comment, but Alex Cora referred to Bloom as “a good kid” Thursday.
Cora, you can be sure, will play a role in the decision and won’t want another good kid. He’ll want a GM who can swim in deep water.
Cora played it smart Thursday, not committing to anything other than managing the team for the rest of the season. He will want to see who gets hired to be his boss before making any decisions.
It’s no secret that Cora would like to move upstairs at some point in his career. But he still loves being in the dugout, so those ambitions can wait.
One bit of advice for whoever gets offered the job: Get a five-year contract and an ironclad commitment to increase the payroll. Otherwise hang up.
The next GM will be the fourth over 13 calendar years, which suggests the coming weeks should be about more than filling one open job. They also should be about whether the Sox are still the focus of Fenway Sports Group or just another logo on the company website.
According to the Sox media guide, Kennedy is president and CEO of the Red Sox, the chief executive of Fenway Sports Management, the chief executive of Fenway Sports Group Real Estate, and since March of 2021, a partner in Fenway Sports Group who leads a “strategy and business development team made up of FSG executives and partners charged with researching and exploring opportunities for the company’s future growth.”
That seems like a full day. The Sox might be better served to separate the president and CEO titles and have an employee — not a partner — whose sole job is overseeing the team as president. Leave the big picture to Kennedy and have somebody else drill down on the details.
The Sox need better direction from the ownership level, or more of a presence at least. That the team let its relationship with Mookie Betts devolve to the point where they decided it was best to trade him is shameful.
The Dodgers, an organization the Sox say they want to emulate, needed only a few months to sign Betts to an extension.
Mishandling the negotiations with Xander Bogaerts during spring training in 2022 was another blunder. Bloom can’t be blamed for those mistakes.
This will be the fifth consecutive year without a division title and the fourth time in five years without a playoff appearance. Longtime fans are getting aggravated with all the buzzwords and empty promises, and the Fenway Park experience is getting musty. Sale striking out Manny Machado feels like a lifetime ago.
“We own this,” Kennedy said Thursday.
He’s right. What used to work isn’t working and it’ll take more than the latest new baseball ops leader to fix it.