Sam Kennedy addresses the Chaim Bloom firing
As the news of Chaim Bloom's firing came about early Thursday afternoon, some of the streets around Fenway Park were littered with a water main break. It caused discomfort. It caused chaos. It was uneasy to be around.
It mirrored what had evolved inside 4 Jersey St. just a few blocks away. The waters had simply become too muddied.
Why was Bloom let go? In a nutshell, in this results business, results were too often being replaced by promises and hope. The standings. The stands. All of it was leading to the kind of apathy that this ownership group has been fending off for more than 21 years.
There were good moves, and there were bad ones. But it was some of the trends along the way which finally forced John Henry and Co. to lose their patience for a prospect-driven path. Too many whispers about what could have been done and what wasn't. Too few players and teams Red Sox sports fans actually wanted to invest in.
While many of Bloom's subtle moves and acquisitions were oftentimes keeping the Red Sox viable for good stretches, the baseball world's voices surfacing concern over the big market club's unwillingness to get uncomfortable for the bigger signings and trades was becoming harder and harder to ignore.
The perception was that trades had to be won by a wide margin instead of getting value for value. There were some that were some approaches which were debatable, and others that really weren't.
One instance was particularly striking. Per a major league source familiar with the situation, just before the 2022 trade deadline - and a few weeks after Chris Sale had broken his finger broken in his second outing of the season - a team approached Bloom about dealing for the lefty. The acquiring club was agreeing to take on all of the money left on Sale's contract (2 1/2 seasons of more than $50 million), while sending some semblance of players. The Red Sox wanted better players than were offered and no deal was done.
But, in hindsight, what seemed to be Bloom's last stand came in the last 1 1/2 months.
A 2022 trade deadline, where the asking price for free agents-to-be Xander Bogaerts, Nathan Eovaldi, J.D. Martinez and Rich Hill were set at levels no team was willing to match (leading to a second straight 12-16 August), along came this year.
Other than a small deal for Luis Urias, Bloom wasn't willing to sign off on anything of note. According to sources, trades involving Alex Verdugo going to the Astros or Yankees were discussed but never completed. The asking price for James Paxton continued the trend of asking for much more than even desperate teams could stomach. And no semblance of pitching help was secured, leaving the Red Sox in an immediate tough spot while being swept by the Blue Jays in a pivotal early-August showdown with the Blue Jays.
There were more games where the 2023 Red Sox found themselves at fork-in-the-road moments only to have their wheels fall off. The Aug. 28 series opener against the Astros being the most obvious example, with the Red Sox going into that game with two viable pitchers available - Sale and Kyle Barraclough. As with so many things after Aug. 1, it didn't work out.
The problem was that while Bloom so intently protected the Red Sox' future, the present was making fewer and fewer care about what might lay ahead. That was a reality that make ownership act.
Four years and five days ago, the Red Sox made a similar decision for basically the same reason. Ownership told their chief decision-maker he had the authority to do it his way, that way was done, and it was determined the payoff for whatever approach it was wasn't what they expected.
It really wasn't all that complicated. These Red Sox owners have always been about course correction, usually in dramatic fashion. Francona to Valentine to Farrell to Cora. Lester to the Four Aces to David Price and Sale. Jose Abreu to Rusney Castillo. Dombrowski to Bloom to, now, who knows what.
The one constant is that the organization doesn't want to let the passion (a word Sam Kennedy used liberally Thursday) drain away. That's how it was starting to feel. For all the aforementioned reasons, that's why Bloom is gone.
Chaim Bloom came to Boston the same way he left, as one of the most accountable and decent front office people in the game. Maybe it was just the wrong team at the wrong time.
Whatever the case, a new approach and a new path is undoubtedly coming ... again. This time, they better make sure it's the right one.