Remember when Kevin Cash pulled Blake Snell in the middle of a postseason gem back in the 2020 World Series because analytics weren’t in the left-hander’s favor anymore? Well, if it’s not clear now, that’s the direction the Red Sox are heading — minus the whole World Series part. Always playing to the matchups rather than riding your best players in the big spots.
Part of that’s because the Red Sox don’t seem to be in the business of keeping their best players around anymore. Sure, the incessant chatter surrounding Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers seem to be making a difference, but the Christian Vazquez deal seemed more representative of what to expect from this front office: a roster of average players, maybe a few stars and some prospects.
Speaking of “young talent,” Brayan Bello and Jarren Duran sure haven’t looked so hot thus far. Doesn’t mean they can’t turn it around — especially in Bello’s case — but this shouldn’t be a time for a rebuild. And therein lies the issue.
Bloom is trying to turn Boston into Tampa when the Red Sox have two horses — Bogaerts and Devers — in the midst of their prime. Rather than take advantage of having those two homegrown talents in the same lineup, the Red Sox front office has slowly done less and less for the present while struggling to truly build for the future.
But, this is the price for valuing prospects over proven talent. As valuable as a farm system can be, how often does every top-10 prospect in an organization pan out? This is why the racket surrounding Dave Dombrowski years ago seemed excessive. Yeah, he signed some bad contracts, but he delivered a ring. And as much as you don’t want to leave the farm system bare, what does accruing mid-level prospects over MLB talent accomplish — other than saving money?
The question with the Boston Rays/Tampa Bay Red Sox now: How long will ownership put up with this plan against all the criticism? A run to the 2021 ALCS didn’t buy Bloom any breathing room this season. Ownership eventually got tired of everything that came with Dombrowski, but that may have had more to do with their wallets. Sure feels like that’ll be the case this time, too.