I think Bloom, to this point, has proved himself a hedger and a fear-based bargain hunter. He's had a few successes, chiefly deepening the farm (though there aren't many elite prospects still). Though he's whiffed on the major league team, failing to take advantage of the end of the window of a still a good core (a team that had the best record in the AL at the trade deadline in 2021). He's had a few good value signs/trades: Whitlock, Kiké last year, Pivetta solid.
But he has had significant misses:
- While trading Mookie became inevitable (perhaps) when Bloom arrived, he got a terrible return for him (one slightly above league average outfielder, a fringe ML catcher, and a dude who will never have an ML career).
- He hedged at the deadline in 2021, only pulling trigger on Schwarber because he could get him for cheap, but at the sacrifice of not having him for 3 weeks. The team had the potential to win it all, and he wasn't aggressive in trying to put it over the top. They went from best record in the AL, to barely making it into the playoffs over the next two months.
- The 2022 off season was baffling, trading or letting a lot of offense walk without replacing it. Leaving clear holes in the outfield and building a bullpen of scrap heap dudes. Story again was essentially a bargain signing, the cheapest of the available All Star free agents. I like Story, but his offense had already begun to decline in 2021.
- And then the schizophrenic trade deadline of 2022, in which Bloom himself admitted things didn't go as he anticipated between the penultimate and the final day (maybe indicating he really got hosed by other GM's and is not a persuasive deal maker). He neither aggressively went for, nor aggressively dismantled the team, thereby not yielding as many prospects he could while the team was heading to the basement. He somehow tried to sell the idea that Pham and Hosmer were acquired to GFIN. If he believed that, then I questions his suitability to build a team. His handing of the 2022 deadline clearly had him on his heals, having to awkwardly defend his process to the press, repeatedly saying, more or less, "I can see how this would seem confusing." And he didn't even manage to dip under the luxury tax for the year either. Really horrendous work here.
The totality of this paints a picture of a man afraid to be bold, worried more about making a mistake than anything. A pattern of half measures, hedged decisions, and inadequate returns trail him. Again, a strengthened farm means his time hasn't been totally for nought. But his leash should be short at this point. 2023 will need to yield a clear plan and ascendent sense, or he should be fired. Wonder if the Bloom defenders and the Bloom critics can agree on this much: the 2023 will be pivotal in our assessment of him?
It's been a common refrain of E5's, I believe, and I would tend to agree that this offseason is pretty pivotal for Chaim with respect to the major league squad. He's already done a solid job of rebuilding the farm system. But, at the end of the day, it's all about the Boston Red Sox and not the Greenville Drive.
There are a lot of decision points this offseason. I have to imagine trying to extend Devers will be the primary focus. He then has to decide what to do with Bogaerts and JD. The outfield is currently a giant mess. Aaron Judge is sitting there but he ain't leaving the Yankees unless you pay a premium on top of the premium that his historic season will require. So, Judge seems extremely unlikely. Other intriguing guys like Trea Turner, Jacob DeGrom, Tim Anderson, Carlos Rodon, etc. are there but won't be easy to acquire. I think fans hoping for a major splash in FA may be disappointed by this offseason. Just isn't a whole lot out there once you strip away the top 4-5 guys.
I think he'll be active looking for solid guys but unspectacular guys who are available via trade. I don't see a whole lot of OF solutions on the FA market (list from MLB.com below).
Notable free agents for 2022-23
Willson Contreras, Omar Narváez, Gary Sánchez, Christian Vázquez, Mike Zunino
José Abreu, Josh Bell, Brandon Belt, Yuli Gurriel, Eric Hosmer (opt-out), Trey Mancini, Anthony Rizzo (player option), Miguel Sanó (club option)
Adam Frazier, Josh Harrison (club option), César Hernández, Rougned Odor, Jonathan Schoop (opt-out), Jean Segura (club option), Kolten Wong (club option)
Brandon Drury, Aledmys Díaz, Evan Longoria (club option), Justin Turner (club option)
Tim Anderson (club option), Xander Bogaerts (opt-out), Carlos Correa (opt-out), José Iglesias, Dansby Swanson, Trea Turner
Andrew Benintendi, Michael Brantley, Corey Dickerson, Adam Duvall, Joey Gallo, Robbie Grossman, Mitch Haniger, Aaron Judge, Kevin Kiermaier (club option), Manuel Margot, Wil Myers (club option), Brandon Nimmo, Joc Pederson, David Peralta, Tommy Pham (mutual option), AJ Pollock (club option), Jorge Soler (opt-out)
Nelson Cruz (mutual option), J.D. Martinez, Andrew McCutchen
Tyler Anderson, Chris Bassitt, Carlos Carrasco (club option), Mike Clevinger, Jacob deGrom (opt-out), Nathan Eovaldi, Sonny Gray (club option), Zack Greinke, Andrew Heaney, Rich Hill, Clayton Kershaw, Corey Kluber, Sean Manaea, Wade Miley, Aaron Nola (club option), Martín Pérez, José Quintana, Carlos Rodón (opt-out), Chris Sale (opt-out), Luis Severino (club option), Ross Stripling, Noah Syndergaard, Jameson Taillon, Justin Verlander (player option), Michael Wacha, Adam Wainwright, Taijuan Walker (player option)