BOSTON -- Chaim Bloom’s run as the chief baseball officer of the Red Sox has ended, the club announced prior to Thursday’s day-night doubleheader against the Yankees.
With the Red Sox (73-72) in danger of finishing in last place in the American League East for the third time in four years since Bloom took over baseball operations in the fall of 2019, the club decided this was the time to make a change.
“The decision was not made lightly or easily, particularly given the deep respect we have for Chaim’s character, and for the professionalism and integrity that he has brought to our organization over the past four years,” said Red Sox president/CEO Sam Kennedy. “We all know where we are in the standings. It's a painful reality that fans feel as deeply as we do. Our fans deserve a winning, competitive team that consistently plays postseason baseball.”
Brian O’Halloran, a longtime executive with the Red Sox, won’t remain in his position as general manager. The club said that O’Halloran has been offered a new senior leadership position within the baseball operations department.
While Kennedy said that improvement is needed with the on-field staff, he said that he expects Alex Cora to again manage the club next season.
This is the fourth time in the last five years that the Red Sox will miss the playoffs.
“We're aiming for World Series championships. That’s it. That's the aim. That's the goal. That's why we're here,” said Kennedy. “Our fans deserve World Series championships, as many as we can possibly win. While we're here, we are not going to waste this opportunity. We're here to win. And we're here to be competitive. And that's what the Boston Red Sox are all about.”
Bloom was informed of the news in a Thursday meeting at Fenway Park with principal owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner and Kennedy.
“While parting ways is not taken lightly, today signals a new direction for our club,” said Henry in a press release. “Our organization has significant expectations on the field and while Chaim’s efforts in revitalizing our baseball infrastructure have helped set the stage for the future, we will today begin a search for new leadership. Everyone who knows Chaim has a deep appreciation and respect for the kind of person he is. His time with us will always be marked by his professionalism, integrity and an unwavering respect for our club and its legacy.”
Kennedy said the Red Sox will cast a wide net and keep an open mind in their quest to find the next leader of their baseball operations department, adding that the process of finding Bloom’s successor could “take a while.”
One candidate Kennedy did rule out is his former co-worker and high school classmate, Theo Epstein, who currently works for Major League Baseball. Epstein was general manager of the Red Sox from 2003-11, leading the club to a pair of World Series titles and six postseason appearances in nine years.
“I know there's speculation, there’s professional history, there's an even longer personal history,” Kennedy said. “But I can rule Theo Epstein out as a candidate for one of these positions.”
What will Kennedy be looking for in the club’s next leader?
“It’s very early days to be talking about specifics when it comes to a candidate. At the end of the day, we need leadership,” Kennedy said. “These are big operations. We need leadership that can help continue to build the organization from the bottom up.”
Bloom’s run in Boston started with a move that didn’t go over well with the fanbase. That was the trade of superstar Mookie Betts to the Dodgers for Alex Verdugo, Connor Wong and Jeter Downs. Betts had one year remaining on his contract at the time of the trade. Verdugo has been a regular for the Red Sox for four seasons and Wong emerged into the team’s starting catcher this season. Downs didn’t live up to expectations and was designated for assignment last winter.
Bloom released a statement on Friday about his departure, saying, "I will always be grateful to John, Tom, Mike and Sam for trusting me to lead the Red Sox baseball operations department. Every day, I gave my teammates and this organization everything I had, and I never took a second for granted. Great things are now in store for the Red Sox. And while I’m sad that I won’t be watching them from the same chair, I will still be very proud.
"Red Sox fans, you are the best. Your passion fueled me daily, and added meaning to everything I’ve done here. You very much deserve more championships. And you will get them."
The highlight of Bloom’s run in Boston was a memorable postseason chase in 2021 that led to the Sox clinching an American League Wild Card spot on the final day of the regular season with a come-from-behind win in Washington.
For a bit, that team caught lightning in a bottle, beating the Yankees at Fenway Park in the AL Wild Card Game, then ousting the 100-win Tampa Bay Rays in four games in the AL Division Series.
That team was two wins from the World Series after taking a 2-1 lead in the AL Championship Series against the Astros. However, Houston won the final three games of the series, knocking Boston out in six.
In large part due to issues with the pitching staff, the Red Sox took a significant step back in the ensuing two seasons. In 2022, the Sox finished 78-84.
Following the season, the Sox lost Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez and Nathan Eovaldi to free agency while adding Masataka Yoshida, Kenley Jansen and Chris Martin. The big move of that Hot Stove season was signing Rafael Devers to a 10-year, $313.5 million extension that will kick in next season.
The Red Sox trailed by just 1 1/2 games in the Wild Card race on Aug. 1, the day of the Trade Deadline. Rather than bolstering the club by adding pitching -- which Devers outwardly lobbied for -- Bloom stood pat and called his club “underdogs” while explaining his conservative approach.
When Bloom was hired, one of his main initiatives was to improve a farm system that was ranked one of the worst in the Majors at that time.
Particularly on the position-player side, Boston’s Minor League system -- ranked No. 16 by MLB Pipeline last month -- has improved. The team also has a core of young players producing at the Major League level, including Triston Casas, Brayan Bello, Jarren Duran and Wilyer Abreu.
However, the positives were outweighed by the fact that Fenway Park will again be empty this October.
“I think consistent with what we've been saying all along this year, we expected a team that would be in this thing and a postseason contender,” said Kennedy. “And unfortunately, we all know we fell short of that.”