Red Sox hire Bloom to be chief baseball officer
BOSTON -- The Red Sox unveiled their new chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom in a press conference at Fenway Park on Monday.
The club formally announced that Bloom will be Boston’s next leader of baseball operations in a statement released earlier in the day.
Bloom and the Red Sox reached an agreement on a contract on Friday.
Brian O'Halloran, one of the three assistant general managers currently in Boston's front office, will be named GM of the club under Bloom, a source told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, who added that Eddie Romero and Zack Scott will retain their assistant GM titles, while Raquel Ferreira will continue in her role as senior VP of Major League and Minor League operations.
The 36-year-old Bloom -- the lone external candidate interviewed by the Red Sox during their search, a source told Feinsand -- is a significant get for Boston, which been looking for a creative and dynamic mind to build a championship-caliber team while also cutting some payroll and rebuilding its 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 this year with payrolls that were 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, Bloom is going to have some big decisions to make.
Romero, Scott, O’Halloran and Ferreira had been running the front office since Dombrowski's departure. 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.
In Bloom, the Red Sox benefit by getting 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 will 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 had been with the club since '05, when he was hired as an intern.
Working for the Red Sox will allow Bloom to re-establish his East Coast roots. Bloom is a native of Philadelphia and a graduate of Yale University. His wife Aliza hails from Lexington, Mass.
Bloom interviewed for the Mets' general manager opening last winter prior to New York's hiring of Brodie Van Wagenen, and he has also interviewed with the Twins and Phillies in recent years.
Under Dombrowski, who was dismissed on Sept. 8, 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.
Bloom will get to discuss his vision on Monday when he speaks to the media. An eager Red Sox Nation will be listening closely.