The search for the next top baseball decision-maker for the Boston Red Sox is over, and the answer was already in the American League East.
The Red Sox have hired Chaim Bloom, the senior vice president of baseball operations for the Tampa Bay Rays, according to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman. Yahoo Sports’ Matt Ehalt has confirmed the move, as has Boston Globe beat writer Alex Speier.
According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, Bloom’s title will be “Chief Baseball Officer,” with Red Sox assistant general manager Brian O'Halloran receiving a promotion to general manager under Bloom.
Bloom will take over for Dave Dombrowski, who was fired by the Red Sox despite winning the World Series last season. Dombrowski was the second straight top executive the Red Sox have let go despite recently winning a World Series, succeeding Ben Cherington. Obviously, Bloom will be dealing with some interesting expectations at his new job.
Hired by the Rays as an intern in 2005, the 26-year-old Bloom worked his way up in the organization and was eventually named senior VP in 2016. Funnily enough, Bloom is actually one of two senior vice presidents of baseball operations with the Rays alongside Erik Neander, whose job title also includes general manager.
Under Neander and Bloom, the Rays have risen from a 68-win season in 2016 to their 96-win season this year despite all the limits of being a low-revenue team in the AL East. The team beat the Oakland Athletics in the wild-card game this year, then took the eventual American League champion Astros to five games in the ALDS.
Bloom’s tenure was most known for pioneering the “opener,” a now widespread strategy of starting a reliever then turning to a long reliever that was frequently used by the Rays in 2018. Such a strategy was one of many ways the Rays dealt with their own limits, and Bloom’s success with a low-revenue team must have been attractive for a Red Sox team that wants to lower payroll.
Red Sox planning to cut payroll
Bloom’s first directive with the Red Sox will likely be to cut the team’s payroll, which weighed in as MLB’s biggest (for luxury tax purposes) at $236 million this season.
Red Sox owner John Henry has said the team wants to be under the luxury tax threshold next, which would require some very difficult decisions. That could include trading away 2018 MVP Mookie Betts and/or not retaining designated hitter J.D. Martinez.
Don’t worry though, the team is still going to raise ticket prices.
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