BOSTON -- The prolonged search by the Red Sox to find a new leader of the front office has gained considerable steam. A source told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand that Rays vice president of baseball operations Chaim Bloom has emerged as the front-runner to replace Dave Dombrowski, who was dismissed by Boston on Sept. 8.
The Athletic reported that Bloom has already interviewed for the position.
The Red Sox had no announcement or update regarding the search for a new general manager.
The 36-year-old Bloom would be a significant get for the Red Sox, who have been looking for a creative and dynamic mind to build a championship-caliber team while also cutting some payroll and rebuilding the farm system.
In discussing the state of the club in a news briefing on Sept. 27, Red Sox owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner expressed admiration for clubs like the Rays and Athletics, who were able to make it to the postseason with a payroll that was a fraction of the roughly $240 million that Boston spent during a disappointing 2019 season (84-78 record, no playoffs).
It isn’t that the Red Sox want to suddenly operate like a small-market team. But Henry made it clear that he wants the club to get below the first luxury-tax threshold of $208 million for the 2020 season.
Red Sox president Sam Kennedy recently acknowledged there is a way the club could keep star players J.D. Martinez and Mookie Betts in ’20, but it would be “difficult” to have a roster with both. Martinez has until five days after the World Series to opt out of his contract. Betts is eligible for free agency following the ’20 season.
In other words, whether it is Bloom or someone else, the next leader of Boston’s front office is going to have some big decisions to make.
Assistant general managers Eddie Romero, Brian O’Halloran and Zack Scott have been running the front office along with senior vice president Raquel Ferreira in the interim. While the Red Sox have praised that quartet numerous times, Henry made it clear that the next leader of the front office should be someone who has experience leading a baseball operations department.
In recent weeks, several perceived candidates had come off the board. Mike Hazen, a long-time executive for the Red Sox, signed an extension with the D-backs. Theo Epstein said late in the regular season that he had a busy offseason ahead for the Cubs and added there was nothing to the story that he would entertain a reunion with the Red Sox. Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman had a contract that was set to expire, but he is staying with Los Angeles.
If the Red Sox can secure the services of Bloom, they would get someone who worked under Friedman for years with the Rays.
Bloom has been running Tampa Bay’s front office alongside general manager Erik Neander. With the Red Sox, he would likely be the lead decision-maker on all personnel moves.
Bloom has an analytics background and was a voice in Tampa Bay’s revolutionary move to go with openers. Bloom is also known to be strong in helping to construct a farm system.
Promoted to VP of baseball operations by the Rays in 2016, Bloom has been with the club since '05, when he was hired as an intern.
Bloom interviewed for the Mets general manager opening last winter prior to New York's hiring of Brodie Van Wagenen and has also interviewed with the Twins and Phillies in recent years.
Under Dombrowski, the Red Sox won three consecutive American League East titles, including the World Series championship season in 2018.
Henry said recently that Dombrowski’s vision of the team going forward differed from that of ownership, and the owner could sense a disconnect almost immediately following the World Series clincher last year in Los Angeles.