Tomase: Bloom outlines a very strong long-term vision for Red Sox appeared first on NBC Sports Boston
Practically since the day he arrived with the mandate to trade don’t-call-it-a-MVP Mookie Betts, Chaim Bloom has had questions about his priorities.
Was he trying to build a farm system or a big league winner? Would it really affect players, whether they are free agents or their own? Would the Red Sox act like big-market pitchers or bargain hunters?
For the first time – and perhaps because he’s been asked the right questions – Bloom has laid out a compelling vision for why the Red Sox are about to take a new step in their stewardship.
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Appearing on WEEI’s Rob Bradford’s Bradfo Show podcast, Bloom argued that teams can’t afford to sign players to big contracts until the farm system is there to support them. He noted that the Dodgers could extend Betts for more than $300 million not only because of their financial resources, but because they had developed a pipeline of homegrown talent to complement the big expenditures.
With the Betts trade next to the Rafael Devers situation today, Bloom suggested the Red Sox are in the right position to take the next step as a franchise.
“I feel strongly that we are headed in the right direction with that, that we are on a much better footing than we were a few years ago,” Bloom said. “But we still have to continue with that. If we make good choices, we should be able to win and fight the way.”
The Red Sox were attacked for trading Betts at the start of spring training in 2020, but as Bloom saw it, he didn’t have much of a choice. Because the farm was without talent, it had no way to balance a $350 million contract with cheaper, productive talent. The Red Sox wouldn’t be able to surround Betts with the necessary pieces to pitch, making his most valuable years in terms of individual production the least valuable from a team perspective.
“The organization at that point was in a position where they were clearly not the class of the division and they were at the bottom of the pile in terms of the quality of the farm system,” Bloom said. “And there were tons of promises on the books. We’re lucky to be blessed with great resources here. But of course, you still need to be able to have freedom with those resources. And there were a lot of those resources tied up So it was not very good short-term or long-term that was going to some tough choices.”
So Betts walked out, along with $48 million of the $96 million owed to left-hander David Price, which was effectively dead money. That allowed Bloom to start balancing the books, but it did little for the organization’s talent base.
The Red Sox have since had one of the worst farm systems in baseball and moved up to 11th in Baseball America’s organizational rankings.
The overall pick is No. 4 of last year, Marcelo Mayer, on the top 15. First baseman Triston Casas and righty Brayan Bello are already in the big leagues and showing promise. Youngsters like versatile Ceddanne Rafaela, former first-round pick Nick Yorke, and slugging Blaze Jordan are highly regarded.
The farm’s contributions at the big league level may not yet be overwhelming, but the lower levels of the minors have at least allowed the Red Sox to trade from their prospect inventory to fill holes, and over both next year, some of their most touted players come.
That puts them in a much better position to make a legitimate bid to keep All-Star third baseman Devers.
“With Raffy, we are in a different position as an organization, where I think our talent base is much better present,” said Bloom. “And we’re not committed in the same way, financially, to as many players as we were then. So I can’t make any guarantees based on that, but part of the work we’re trying to do is the organization is in a position where we would not have support in that corner.”
With a slew of decisions on the docket next season — starting with the future of shortstop Devers and All-Star Xander Bogaerts — Bloom has made a credible argument why the Red Sox could be back in business soon .