What We Learned About Chaim Bloom In His First Red Sox Winter Meetings

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December 13, 2019

Chaim Bloom has been running the Boston Red Sox for about two months now, and at least one thing is quite clear: He doesn’t like to give away too much of his plan.

Bloom is a fine public speaker, and he carries himself publicly with a fairly strong sense of confidence. He’s drawn rave reviews across baseball, so he clearly knows what he’s doing. But every time he speaks, he does so in dry generalities, a clear strategy that allows him to avoid divulging much tangible information.

So, we’re left to try and figure out his plans and path to success by interpreting his actions. Bloom just put the finishing touches on his first trip to the winter meetings as chief baseball officer of the Red Sox, and there were a few things we could glean.

He’s serious about the collaboration thing
Bloom didn’t say a whole lot in his introductory press conference back in October, but he did harp on the importance of collaboration. Principal owner John Henry even acknowledged the need for more collaboration as the organization enters its next chapter in the post-Dave Dombrowski era. By all accounts, Bloom and his baseball operations team have sought opinions up and down the front office.

“You just see how much more you can accomplish when people work together when they feel valued, when everyone recognizes that no one person has a monopoly on the truth and nobody has all the answers,” Bloom told ESPN.com’s Joon Lee this week. “We are only going to achieve our full potential if we’re willing to work together and willing to be vulnerable and acknowledge that we can all learn from each other.”

Lee also wrote: “Several Red Sox staffers noted a happier working environment, in which baseball ops people up and down the organization’s ladder feel their opinions are valued, a feeling that slowly evaporated over the course of Dombrowski’s tenure.”

He’s not going to rush into anything
Or, put another way, he seems content with being patient. This might fall in line with the collaboration and the information-gathering process, but the Red Sox played the winter meetings slow, which makes sense. They have a lot of important decisions to make, especially as it pertains to cutting payroll. According to just about every report, the Red Sox aren’t looking to trade superstar outfielder Mookie Betts to cut some of that money. But another Bloom pledge was to hear and consider all options, which seems to be the case with pitcher David Price. He, not Betts, was the most talked about Red Sox player (at least according to reports) in San Diego. It sure feels like Price could have a new home soon — perhaps even in the next week or so, per The Boston Globe — but Bloom seems content with taking his time and finding the best offer.

Rebuilding the farm system is a priority
There were some reports or suggestions the Red Sox might look to package a young, cost-controlled player like Andrew Benintendi in a potential deal for Price to maximize the return. Boston could do the same with a prospect or two. But that’s looking pretty unlikely, as Bloom’s path to sustainability has a path through the farm.

“I don?t think we?d ever want to rule anything out,? Bloom told reporters, per The Athletic. “But so much of what we?re always going to be trying to accomplish, but certainly now, is to make sure we have as strong a farm system as possible.”

He’s putting an emphasis on versatility
Generally speaking, the Red Sox were fairly quiet at the winter meetings, but they did make a few late-week moves. The first was selecting infielder Jonathan Arauz from the Houston Astros in the Rule 5 draft. Arauz is no sure thing to make the roster (in which case he’d return to Houston), but various scouting reports indicate he’s a pretty sure-handed defender who can play multiple infield positions. The same can be said for José Peraza, a former Reds infielder who reportedly agreed to a one-year contract with the team Thursday. Peraza has made 281 and 173 appearances at shortstop and second base, respectively, in his career. Even the reported signing of pitcher Martin Perez presents some potential versatility. His best trait ultimately is to eat innings as a starter, which the Red Sox will need after Rick Porcello’s departure, but Perez also has pitched out of the bullpen in the past, too. All three represent potential value, with the 2020 financial commitments to Peraza and Perez reportedly coming in at less than $10 million combined.

Thumbnail photo via Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports Images
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