Chaim Bloom’s First Red Sox Trade


It’s pretty fair to say that after the Red Sox and Dave Dombrowski parted ways, the club needed a new vision in the front office.  The last few seasons with Dombrowski leading the Red Sox front office, the team had jettisoned young controllable talent for proven Major Leaguers and he spent significant dollars in the free agent market.  Last season, in a year that brought Red Sox Nation disappointment following a magical World Series championship run, the team’s payroll swelled like a blood filled tick to $221 million.  The organization felt like a ship with no rudder, investing millions of dollars in bad contracts and no really talented kids in the system to augment the roster around the others. 

Photo courtesy of Boston Sports Journal

While we all have our opinions good and bad on Red Sox principle owner John Henry, one thing is for certain, he has spent money and invested in this billion dollar company. His ownership has been part of four World Series championships since 2004.  In order for the Red Sox to get to that point again he would need to find a new mind and leader to bring the 2020 and beyond teams back to glory. 

That new fresh mind and leader was plucked from the Tampa Bay Rays, and when the team hired Chaim Bloom there was an immediate curiosity of who he was and what direction would the team immediately go in.  Bloom was part of a front office leadership group that built a Rays team that won 96 games last season.  That Rays team defeated the Oakland A’s in the AL wild-card game and took the Houston Astros to five games in the ALDS.  The Rays accomplished those feats with a team payroll of $60 million, which was the lowest in MLB.  The Rays do more with a little, they maximize their resources and find good, young and controllable talent to build consistently good teams to keep pace with the Red Sox and Yankees in the AL East. 

After Bloom was hired by the Red Sox, no one, and I mean no one, could have truly seen what the next couple of months following his hire would be like.  The Red Sox had a team that was mandated to get under the luxury tax threshold so it could be reset and Henry wouldn’t be subject to millions of dollars in penalties.  Bloom would end up losing his field manager in Alex Cora due to the ongoing fall out of the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal.  Then Bloom would do the unthinkable and trade beloved Mookie Betts and David Price to the Dodgers for salary relief and to bring in some young controllable assets and begin to replenish the depleted farm system thanks to Dombrowski. 

Bloom’s very first trade came at the expense of catcher Sandy Leon, who was moved to the Cleveland Indians back in early December.  With everything that has gone on this offseason, to the strange year of 2020 it feels like ages ago Leon was traded to the Tribe.  The deal wasn’t a blockbuster, it was an attempt to move a player who could have cost the Red Sox roughly $3 million in salary for a player that was replaceable.  Leon had appeared in 358 games for the Red Sox since being acquired by the Nationals in 2015 during the Ben Cherington era.  Leon was the first Rays-esque style trade by Bloom and Red Sox fans began to grumble due to Leon being popular amongst Red Sox Nation. 

The trade made sense, Leon was was entering this upcoming season at age 31.  Not old by any means, but from an overall production standpoint, the Red Sox could replace him and bring in players who could make dramatically less and move that money elsewhere on the roster.  The club would acquire minor-league right hander Adenys Bautista for Leon.  The 20-year-old, 6-foot-3, 170 pound righty from the Dominican Republic had spent two years in the Indians system compiling a 1-6 record and a 5.98 ERA in 43.2 innings pitched.  Those gaudy numbers on the surface gave pause to Red Sox fans and they began to criticize Bloom and we here at Boston Sports Syndicate would refer to him as “Bargain Bin Bloom” thanks to one of our regular Twitter followers. 

There’s not a whole lot on Bautista, I would typically reference the SoxProspects web site in my research for a player to feature in a blog and they only have his stats and no other information on the young right hander.  What we do know is Bloom at least got something for Leon back in December considering he was a DFA candidate.  The Red Sox have since added and will replace Leon with former Indians backup catcher Kevin Plawecki, who was one of the many free agent signings by Bloom.  The Red Sox have also added veteran backstop Jonathan Lucroy to the mix as well.  The veteran will serve as one of the three catchers for the Red Sox with the newly expanded rosters for this COVID shortened baseball season. 

The first trade for Bloom wasn’t a blockbuster by any means.  Leon was not going to be with Boston for 2020.  His first trade was the beginning to bring in depth at all levels of the minor league system and overall bring change to the Boston baseball climate.  Bloom has brought an immediate culture change to the Boston Red Sox, and while fans will critique his moves and some will call this team the “Tampa Bay Red Sox”.  The 36-year-old front office executive needs time to replenish the farm system and put his own thumb print on the major league roster.  We all gave Theo Epstein the chance to succeed when he was brought in to lead the Red Sox when the new ownership took over.  It’s now time we trust Bloom and believe he has a plan no matter the financial costs of the players the team receives in return. 

Bloom is the complete polar opposite from Dombrowski, and that is exactly what the Red Sox need.

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Boston Sports Syndicate: Chaim Bloom’s First Red Sox Trade
Chaim Bloom’s First Red Sox Trade
Boston Sports Syndicate
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