Haim Blum’s disappointing 2022 season wasn’t a crime

I understand why Chaim Bloom’s future will be a subject of debate in the midst of another unexpected season. The ownership of the Red Sox has proven to be nothing if not regressive since the departure of Theo Epstein, tired of general managers/baseball operations directors/top baseball officers as often as LeBron James’ teams late in his career.

Ben Sherrington won the World Championship in 2013 and was replaced midway through his fourth season two years later. Then, Dave Dombrowski won it all with Juggernaut in 2018, only to be let go the following September.

But even by those standards, relieving Bloom of his duties now would be a hasty. He’s in the middle of his third season, and he’s already made it into one of the MLS series. While there’s plenty to criticize this season, John Henry & Company has hired him to level their paychecks and rebuild their farm system, and he’s succeeding on both fronts. Shortstop Marcelo Mayer is in the top 10 legitimate prospects and newcomers Brian Bello, Conor Wong and Triston Casas should play important roles in the future. The club could also have around $140 million to spend this winter, albeit to support a respectable roster.

The property knew that reckoning was on the horizon. Dombrowski’s mandate before he was fired was to cut payroll like Dexter, with Mookie Betts, David Price and JD Martinez on the chopping block. Bloom ended up trading the first two in what amounted to a payroll dump with the Dodgers, and the third is only here because he never quit.

With all this talent off the books, what do you expect ownership? A lean year was inevitable, which is something Bloom and the manager credit for Alex Korra That Red Sox argued in 2021 behind the achievement roster.

Bloom has removed much of this good work—and cost himself most of the resulting goodwill—by taking an unfamiliar approach to both this informal and trade deadline business. Hunter Renfroe’s trade with Jackie Bradley as a way to buy leads seemed like a big market move, at least until it turned out he was planning a ride or die with Bradley in the right field. The same goes for right-hander James Paxton, who signed with 2023 in mind, but at the expense of 2022. The Red Sox likely won’t get anything for $6 million.

The trade deadline brought more confusion, as he shipped not only starter Cristian Vazquez, but rival Houston Astros, to the club’s consternation. But then, rather than committing to rebuilding, Bloom kept suspended free agents Nathan Evaldi and Martinez, adding defensive back Tommy Pham, first baseman Eric Hosmer, and catch Rhys McGuire. Hosmer was injured, but the other two outdid their predecessors, it doesn’t matter – we now know the season went to the toilet sometime in July, and his death was hastened by Bloom’s inability to get help.

Tomase: No pressure, Casas, but Sox’s ranch system can’t stand another whiff

It’s fair to question his performance after these recent failures, but it doesn’t quite live up to his cost to his job, at least not yet. Nobody can rebuild an agricultural system in three years, injuries have caused havoc, and this winter will be the first when they have real money to spend.

Complicating matters is the fact that CEO Sam Kennedy secured the return of both Bloom and Cora in an interview with The Athletic last week. Kennedy’s attempt to clarify their future troubled them, because releasing neither was really on anyone’s radar until he said they were safe. Now fans are naturally left to wonder why the topic was brought up at all, as votes of confidence have historically been around 50-50 suggestions.

Having said that, I tend to take Kennedy at his word. The property may not be happy with this year’s results, but I haven’t heard anything to indicate that they disagree with the general direction of the franchise. Throwing in the 2020 season shortened to the pandemic as the cluster it was, Bloom is effectively a 1 for 2 at the helm of the organization.

This isn’t the average kind that gets anyone fired, no matter how uneasy fans may feel about the future. That means it’s officially the clock, and we might have a completely different conversation this time next year.