The Red Sox have fired Chaim Bloom

jon abbey

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I shouldn't really be in this thread but anyway people need to stop talking about each other and stick to baseball. Dopes are being tolerant currently because tensions in Sox world are currently understandably high, but remember where you are and our hopeful standards here because we will not be tolerant forever. Thanks.
 

mikcou

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Not trying to single just you out, but this is a statement that makes me see a bit red when people pull it out these days. We know Eflin preferred Tampa for non-baseball reasons, maybe BOS could have overbid enough to get him to come anyway, but Tampa always had the edge there. SD offered Judge $415M (and were evidently willing to go higher if he would seriously consider it), he took $360M to stay in NY. Kershaw isn't playing anywhere but for the Dodgers, this has been true for a while. That's just three quick current examples...

Anyway, it's a universal statement that is wrong enough of the time that IMO it dumbs down discussion if left unchallenged. And what's interesting is that the more a guy is a genuine 'I will go to whichever of the 30 franchises offers the most' guy, the more he would make, but players see the purgatory of someone like Kris Bryant also. If Ohtani and his agent came out with a statement the day after the WS saying he will go to the top bidder, no other concerns, I bet he'd make an extra $100M at least. But he has been with a shitty organization for his whole time in the US, which is why I think as long as the Dodgers give a fair bid, they are the favorites, even if Cohen or others wildly outbid them in the end.
I didnt say it was always true; its clearly written absent evidence. Judge clearly preferred staying in NY. We'll see on Ohtani. This was all in the discussion of Senga and post-signing comments; I dont view those as evidence that it wasnt just the money as they are completely self serving.

Edit: Perhaps 99% is aggressive and there are more cases of players not choosing the most money. That said, absent some decent evidence, the reasonable inference is a player chose the most money. Statements made after signing aren't really evidence of any preference as the player isnt going to say they really want to be elsewhere.
 
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Marciano490

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This thread is like a Rick and Morty episode or a Marvel arc - Chaim Bloom in the Multiverse of Madness or something, what might’ve happened in this universe with that slight difference, meanwhile in this universe it’s 3 of 4 years in last place and basically a .500 record. Perhaps, this is not the greatest of all possible universes for our Bloom, but it’s the one we’re living in.
 

JM3

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I didnt say it was always true; its clearly written absent evidence. Judge clearly preferred staying in NY. We'll see on Ohtani. This was all in the discussion of Senga and post-signing comments; I dont view those as evidence that it wasnt just the money as they are completely self serving.

Edit: Perhaps 99% is aggressive and there are more cases of players not choosing the most money. That said, absent some decent evidence, the reasonable inference is a player chose the most money. Statements made after signing aren't really evidence of any preference as the player isnt going to say they really want to be elsewhere.
I posted an article before about his preference to play for a championship contender in a large market.

Here's another one:

Senga's preference is reportedly to play in a large market for a team that is ready to compete for a championship. The San Diego Padres, New York Yankees, New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox, San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs have all been linked to Senga.
https://www.si.com/fannation/mlb/fastball/news/mlb-hot-stove-who-is-kodai-senga-japanese-free-agent-pitcher
 

JM3

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Of course, he apparently misjudged the Mets' championship hopes.

But it's all pretty moot. Bloom could have done some things better. There are some things people think he should have done better which were probably logistically impossible to do.

Life moves on. Hopefully to a new CBO who wins lots of World Series & hopefully everyone who's disparaged Bloom's farm building is wrong, & everyone who thinks he shouldn't have been fired also is wrong because the new person is immaculate.
 

ShaneTrot

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I think this whole firing has been over thought. They have not played meaningful baseball in September the last two years and this ownership group is used to winning.
 

chrisfont9

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Just listened to the Carrabis pod where he is quoting baseball people NOT with the Sox saying that the view inside the game several months ago was that Bloom was in over his head. Not every one of these "guy from another org said x" things are entirely reliable but I do appreciate this as something that makes sense. The official statements of the Sox were a bit more vague, and given the more readily observable positive developments like the farm system it didn't add up that they would just can him now (to someone who thought he was doing a good job). But if the real story is that he did a fine reorganization but his personality didn't work inside the game for him to run the next strategy (where they get aggressive with acquisitions), then sure, bring in a guy to do the job now that it's morphing into a different job.

It does give me more confidence in the organization -- and I know they would like to manipulate us into thinking well of them, so grain of salt, but it's coming from outside, and from before the firing. Carrabis also hinted that people inside the org are dropping hints about being very aggressive this winter. Again, maybe this is more manipulation. But it all sounds a bit less chaotic than it seemed from my POV a few days ago. Fingers crossed.
 

PapnMillsy

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I think that's a separate and quasi-valid issue.

2021 - Sale made it back from TJ more or less on schedule and was as effective as one might reasonably hope for. Going into 2022, they were clearly were relying on Sale to contribute significantly.

2022 was a series of fluke injuries. Going into 2023, he hadn't pitched significant innings, and his mechanical injuries should have been vetted internally, with some plan to address them.

2023 really seems to have been mild injury, and moderate ineffectiveness. So to the extent they were relying on him in 2023, the question becomes, "How much and for what?" Secondarily, "If not for all that much, then what was the plan?" And there, I think we have to look at Whitlock and Houck. And those same questions should be asked.
Also Sale wasn’t nearly as bad this year as people think he was. He pretty much had an Orioles problem and was otherwise effective.

Chris Sale in 2023 against everybody but the Baltimore Orioles:

15 starts, 3.35 ERA, 3.15 FIP, 25.5 K-BB%, .199 opp BA
 

Myt1

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I get that this argument is attractive. It's unfalsifiable. We don't know what we don't know, and we need someone to blame for failing to bring that unknown—which clearly would have solved everything—into reality.

In actual reality, it's not an infinite pool of available pitchers. It's a closed, finite system. There's also a mandate to staff them without spending above the tax that our previous GMs didn't have.

What I am saying is, for the countless reasons pointed out in this thread, and considering ownership's mandate to build a team without exceeding the tax, it's defensible to want to develop Tanner Houck in the rotation instead of paying big and hoping that Kevin Gausman's age 33-35 seasons, the ones that line up with the window our hitting prospects are about to open, are still effective. It's defensible to opt against trading Yorke and Rafaela for Luis Castillo. And those are two of the best case scenario example of pitchers who were available—most others got hurt or sucked.
He knows it’s not falsifiable. The response to a non-falsifiable argument, however, is not to create a massively narrower than reality hypothetical, in service of pretending to unearned rhetorical and logical certainty.
 

Myt1

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I'm lost in the back and forth, is there a point where chawson claimed to absolutely know something?
It's defensible to opt against trading Yorke and Rafaela for Luis Castillo. And those are two of the best case scenario example of pitchers who were available—most others got hurt or sucked.
Assuming that the only pitchers “who were available” were the ones who actually got moved is both almost certainly untrue and also a textbook example of the begging the question fallacy.

Arguments about first premises are almost always unfulfilling for anyone other than those who love to muse about the unknowable (hi, there). They become outright ridiculous, however, when one assumes the first premise and then takes people to task for them not being able to prove their argument in that universe.
 
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Fishy1

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Assuming that the only pitchers “who were available” were the ones who actually got moved is both almost certainly untrue and also a textbook example of the begging the question fallacy.

Arguments about first premises are almost always unfulfilling for anyone other than those who love to muse about the unknowable (hi, there). They become outright ridiculous, however, when one assumes the first premise and then takes people to task for them not being able to prove their argument in that universe.
Forgoing what we don't know, I think what Bloom actually did fits with our understanding of him as guy who likes to try to thread the needle and make decisions that are conservative in terms of monetary commitment/years. Kluber is a great example of that, as are Duvall and Turner. Bloom bet that Kluber + Sale + Houck + Whitlock + Paxton would give him at least a couple of guys who were healthy enough to provide enough competitive innings to get them into the playoffs. I can't know if he promised this, but it seems like he did: I'll keep us under the cap and get us into the playoffs. He bet that Kike would be as good at SS as he had been in the past. He bet that Duvall would stay healthy enough to hold down center field. When those pitchers went down, he bet that the rotation cast of back-up pitchers, from Dinelson Lamet to Ryan Brasier, would provide enough quality innings that the team would stay above water.

In July, there was reason for optimism: without half those starting pitchers the team was playing its best baseball. He figured that when Sale, Story, et al came back, they would continue to roll. Instead, the wheels not only came off the guys who were pitching well but the ones who were coming back. Crawford, Murphy, Paxton and Pivetta, who had been carrying the staff, all came crashing back to earth.

I think you can defend a lot of these decisions in a vacuum, but when you look at them in totality, you understand why a ownership group that expects to win would not be satisfied. There's no sure thing when signing/trading for starting pitching, but if you lean towards a bunch of guys who are not sure things, you know one of the possible outcomes is everything turns to dust in your hands and you will be held accountable. n the words of Tony Soprano, a grown man made a wager and lost.
 

tbb345

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Assuming that the only pitchers “who were available” were the ones who actually got moved is both almost certainly untrue and also a textbook example of the begging the question fallacy.

Arguments about first premises are almost always unfulfilling for anyone other than those who love to muse about the unknowable (hi, there). They become outright ridiculous, however, when one assumes the first premise and then takes people to task for them not being able to prove their argument in that universe.
Myt1's last two posts are what I was trying to say...(his points were more eloquent than mine)
 

8slim

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Forgoing what we don't know, I think what Bloom actually did fits with our understanding of him as guy who likes to try to thread the needle and make decisions that are conservative in terms of monetary commitment/years. Kluber is a great example of that, as are Duvall and Turner. Bloom bet that Kluber + Sale + Houck + Whitlock + Paxton would give him at least a couple of guys who were healthy enough to provide enough competitive innings to get them into the playoffs. I can't know if he promised this, but it seems like he did: I'll keep us under the cap and get us into the playoffs. He bet that Kike would be as good at SS as he had been in the past. He bet that Duvall would stay healthy enough to hold down center field. When those pitchers went down, he bet that the rotation cast of back-up pitchers, from Dinelson Lamet to Ryan Brasier, would provide enough quality innings that the team would stay above water.

In July, there was reason for optimism: without half those starting pitchers the team was playing its best baseball. He figured that when Sale, Story, et al came back, they would continue to roll. Instead, the wheels not only came off the guys who were pitching well but the ones who were coming back. Crawford, Murphy, Paxton and Pivetta, who had been carrying the staff, all came crashing back to earth.

I think you can defend a lot of these decisions in a vacuum, but when you look at them in totality, you understand why a ownership group that expects to win would not be satisfied. There's no sure thing when signing/trading for starting pitching, but if you lean towards a bunch of guys who are not sure things, you know one of the possible outcomes is everything turns to dust in your hands and you will be held accountable. n the words of Tony Soprano, a grown man made a wager and lost.
This is a good post. I, for one, understood what Bloom was trying to do the past few seasons at the major league level. You don't have to squint to see the logic in it, it's pretty apparent.

As you said, the challenge is that it's an approach similar to stacking elephants on a highwire. It if it works, it's magical (see: 2013, 2021). If it doesn't, it's likely a disaster. There ain't much middle ground.

Personally, I thought his execution of that approach heading into this season had far too many points of failure. I could have been wrong, I usually am. But not this time.
 

Fishy1

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This is a good post. I, for one, understood what Bloom was trying to do the past few seasons at the major league level. You don't have to squint to see the logic in it, it's pretty apparent.

As you said, the challenge is that it's an approach similar to stacking elephants on a highwire. It if it works, it's magical (see: 2013, 2021). If it doesn't, it's likely a disaster. There ain't much middle ground.

Personally, I thought his execution of that approach heading into this season had far too many points of failure. I could have been wrong, I usually am. But not this time.
I get that. I don't happen to think I have enough information or even intelligence anymore to judge. I thought, going into this season, that this team had 2013 upside it probably wouldn't meet. I thought Sale and Paxton would be better than they were. I didn't think the defense would be such a trainwreck, and I definitely did not anticipate Houck taking a line drive to the face. I thought Story would come back to play SS (correct) and hit the snot out of the ball (incorrect). Now I'm on record saying Urias will be the Crown Jewel of the Bloom era. Time makes fools of us all, and sometimes, very quickly!
 

8slim

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I get that. I don't happen to think I have enough information or even intelligence anymore to judge. I thought, going into this season, that this team had 2013 upside it probably wouldn't meet. I thought Sale and Paxton would be better than they were. I didn't think the defense would be such a trainwreck, and I definitely did not anticipate Houck taking a line drive to the face. I thought Story would come back to play SS (correct) and hit the snot out of the ball (incorrect). Now I'm on record saying Urias will be the Crown Jewel of the Bloom era. Time makes fools of us all, and sometimes, very quickly!
For sure. Like I said, I'm usually wrong. But I expected nothing from Sale and Paxton. That we got 3 good months from the latter, and 6 weeks from the former, was found money IMHO. And yet that still wasn't nearly enough.

Which, to me, speaks to all of those other points of failure in this year's plan. I thought it was crazy to count on Story coming back as an all-star caliber player after so much time away. I thought it was a deeply flawed plan to think Kike and Arroyo could man the middle IF effectively for at least 4 months (and an even worse plan to think Mondesi was the plan B).
 

Rovin Romine

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I thought it was a deeply flawed plan to think Kike and Arroyo could man the middle IF effectively for at least 4 months (and an even worse plan to think Mondesi was the plan B).
I'd disagree.

The setup:

Story injured his arm in late December, and got surgery in Jan., and was was expected back at some point this year: https://www.mlb.com/news/trevor-story-has-right-elbow-surgery
The Sox had Meyer coming up at some point, and were locked into Story for 5 more years (at SS or 2B). So they didn't sign a big-name SS to a long contract. Instead, they signed Duval in late Jan. to allow Hernandez to go to SS. They also traded Taylor for Mondesi, who was expected back early in the year.​
Hernandez, BTW, had Cora's 100% full support as an "elite" short-stop (e.g., https://www.audacy.com/national/sports/alex-cora-kik-hernndez-is-trying-to-be-too-perfect-at-ss There are plenty others.)​
For second base, the Sox had Arroyo who during his age 26 and 27 years was a league average bat and played decent 2B. For ML depth they had Chang, who was an excellent defensive MI who could occasionally slug a HR. They had Valdez, Hamilton, and Goodrum at AAA.​
So at this point, I wouldn't say "deeply flawed." They're covered at SS, and the Arroyo injury-factor is mitigated by Chang, a bat-first 2B at AAA, a potential speedster SS at AAA, and a break-glass replacement player at AAA. Maybe you want more depth, but Mondesi was taking BP and grounders on April 10, and was the 60-day IL, making an early May possible.​

How it played out:

- Hernandez could neither field nor hit, and was given half the season to show it before being moved to backup status.​
- Arroyo started, missed most of May, returned, and then was finally injured/demoted in August. He turned in his worst offensive season in his career.​
So really after the first month, the Sox needed to fill 2 MI positions, not one (2B). But wait - Chang was also injured in April, so they lost their defensive first SS/2B player, leaving them the AAA group. Mondesi was still expected back, as was Story.​
When Chang went down, they used Valdez at 2B for a bit, who hit decently for the most part. Then they traded for Pablo Reyes in mid-May, still with an eye toward Mondesi and Story returning, and Hernandez (as Cora constantly assured us he would) turning in either a decent defensive or offensive season. But in fact he didn't so the Sox had to cover 2 middle infield positions.​
Later they traded for Urias.​


Overall, I don't think the plan was "deeply flawed" from a decision-making viewpoint. I think it was deeply flawed from a results viewpoint, and I think the reason it failed was shitty information flowing uphill:
1) Hernandez was seen as a reasonable SS, both offensively and defensively. Cora there. Plugging away till Mid June. And beyond, some.​
2) Mondesi was seen as a reasonable bet to recover. Whoever made those assessments at various points didn't do a good job. Or maybe Mondesi drew the worst hand possible in terms of recovery.​
3) Valdez/Hamilton/Goodrum were seen as reasonable depth. Mixed bag there, and the prospects were still developing, so who knows. (I don't know about you, but I around April 15, if I'm Bloom, I spend $200K for a personal IF coach for Valdez and start him at 2B every single game.)​

OTOH:
1) Story returned on schedule. He did not hit, which was sort of forseeable, perhaps, but also not. I call it a push.​
2) Arroyo was seen as a decent 2B. He was always an injury risk so the club got depth. I don't think it was forseen he'd suck as badly as he did with the bat. But if it could be that's on the org. evenly - analytics and field staff. Again, I'd call it a push.​
3) Chang was as advertised. Bad luck with the broken wrist.​
4) Pablo Reyes was an excellent pick-up.​
5) Urias seems to be as advertised - a decent 2B with upside in the bat, more so than Reyes.​

Overall the pattern seems to be stop-gap fixes based on bad information: Hernandez will hit/field, Arroyo will hit, Mondesi will return, Story will return.

When you add up the failures though, it can also be looked at this way:
1) Hernandez didn't hit (or field.)​
2) Arroyo didn't hit.​
3) Valdez didn't hit quite enough, and didn't improve his fielding quite enough.​
4) Story didn't hit when he returned.​
Is that a pattern?​
 

8slim

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Overall, I don't think the plan was "deeply flawed" from a decision-making viewpoint. I think it was deeply flawed from a results viewpoint, and I think the reason it failed was shitty information flowing uphill:
1) Hernandez was seen as a reasonable SS, both offensively and defensively. Cora there. Plugging away till Mid June. And beyond, some.
2) Mondesi was seen as a reasonable bet to recover. Whoever made those assessments at various points didn't do a good job. Or maybe Mondesi drew the worst hand possible in terms of recovery.
3) Valdez/Hamilton/Goodrum were seen as reasonable depth. Mixed bag there, and the prospects were still developing, so who knows. (I don't know about you, but I around April 15, if I'm Bloom, I spend $200K for a personal IF coach for Valdez and start him at 2B every single game.)

OTOH:
1) Story returned on schedule. He did not hit, which was sort of forseeable, perhaps, but also not. I call it a push.
2) Arroyo was seen as a decent 2B. He was always an injury risk so the club got depth. I don't think it was forseen he'd suck as badly as he did with the bat. But if it could be that's on the org. evenly - analytics and field staff. Again, I'd call it a push.
3) Chang was as advertised. Bad luck with the broken wrist.
4) Pablo Reyes was an excellent pick-up.
5) Urias seems to be as advertised - a decent 2B with upside in the bat, more so than Reyes.

Overall the pattern seems to be stop-gap fixes based on bad information: Hernandez will hit/field, Arroyo will hit, Mondesi will return, Story will return.


When you add up the failures though, it can also be looked at this way:
1) Hernandez didn't hit (or field.)​
2) Arroyo didn't hit.​
3) Valdez didn't hit quite enough, and didn't improve his fielding quite enough.​
4) Story didn't hit when he returned.​
Is that a pattern?​
I agree that there was a breakdown in evaluation here. I don't know if it was Cora, Bloom, or his staff, but it was all bad.

Kike is not a good hitter. He had an outlier 2021 where he was a little above average, and the three years around that were rough. Arroyo is at his best a league average hitter. And he's always hurt. So counting on him for 4 straight months of production was ill-advised. Mondesi is a below average hitter, who's also always hurt. Counting on him to be an option for anything was ill-advised.

Look, I know nothing, and even I was blathering here in March about the disaster that was looming in the middle IF. And that was with me thinking Kike might be OK defensively.

When X left they needed to address 2B, and they failed miserably. It only got worse from there.

Like I said, I can squint and see Bloom's rationale for most everything he did going into this season. But I'll stand on my assertion that the MIF was royally screwed up from the jump.
 

JM3

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I wanted to sign Elvis Andrus. Not sure if it would have been a good signing or not...but 1.4 fWAR & 0.7 bWAR isn't awful for $3m.
 

moondog80

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I wanted to sign Elvis Andrus. Not sure if it would have been a good signing or not...but 1.4 fWAR & 0.7 bWAR isn't awful for $3m.
That made sense at the time and looks even better in hindsight. I'd like to know what happened. He didn't sign until Feb 20, so maybe he was holding out for more until he got desperate?
 

JM3

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That made sense at the time and looks even better in hindsight. I'd like to know what happened. He didn't sign until Feb 20, so maybe he was holding out for more until he got desperate?
I think that's probably right. He also might not have been available for $3m to a place that didn't guarantee him a starting role. I think the rumors were closer to 2/$16m than what he ended up getting.
 

moondog80

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When X left they needed to address 2B, and they failed miserably. It only got worse from there
I was perfectly content with Kike at 2B. Who's idea was it to move him to SS? I understand once Chang got hurt, but Kike played SS the first 9 or so games of the year while Chang was healthy. Was he following orders?

And RR, I know that Cora publicly supported it, but whether it was his idea or not, what else is he going to say once that became the plan?
 

Max Power

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The Kike situation was difficult because he clearly has the skills to play shortstop. His range was good, his hands were fine, and his arm was pretty strong. He just had a case of the yips and nearly all of his errors were on throws when he had time to think about it. Expressing confidence in a player who is having a mental block is usually the way to go. Ideally you'd also sit him sometime to ease him back into the position, but when Chang got injured there was literally nobody else to play short. Once Reyes was acquired, he got most of the starts there until he got hurt, too.
 

8slim

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I was perfectly content with Kike at 2B. Who's idea was it to move him to SS? I understand once Chang got hurt, but Kike played SS the first 9 or so games of the year while Chang was healthy. Was he following orders?

And RR, I know that Cora publicly supported it, but whether it was his idea or not, what else is he going to say once that became the plan?
I assumed once Story was out they decided Kike was their man for SS. I didn't love him at 2B even with a healthy Story, because of my aforementioned knock on his hitting. Hence my desire to find someone new their.
 

8slim

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@Rovin Romine Since you more explicitly said this in another thread:

TLDR version for here is that this seems like a hitting-coach failure, plus a fielding coach failure; 1) Hernandez does not hit or field. 2) Arroyo does not hit. 3) Valdez does not hit (enough) or field (enough). 4) Story does not hit when he returns.
You really think this is all on the hitting coach? Kike hasn't hit since 2018, Arroyo has never been anything but a slightly above average hitter at best, Valdez got less than 150 PAs, and Story came back from surgery.

I think this is on two guys not being good hitters anymore, one guy not getting enough sample to know for sure, and one guy being all out of sync after missing 5 months.
 

moondog80

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I assumed once Story was out they decided Kike was their man for SS. I didn't love him at 2B even with a healthy Story, because of my aforementioned knock on his hitting. Hence my desire to find someone new their.
Right, I'm just curious how much everyone was on the same page. One thing for sure -- kudos to Kike for going along with it, and not griping even when it became clear that it was a mistake. Free agent year and all, he may have cost himself some $$.
 

8slim

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Right, I'm just curious how much everyone was on the same page. One thing for sure -- kudos to Kike for going along with it, and not griping even when it became clear that it was a mistake. Free agent year and all, he may have cost himself some $$.
Eh, if things went differently Kike was looking at being a super-sub in both the IF and OF. I'm sure he wasn't upset with being handed the every day starting SS role for at least 4-5 months.
 

Fishercat

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I'd be deeply curious to what the actual conversations behind the scenes on the Hernandez at SS experiment looked like. This particular situation, as opposed to the pitching elements, I could see being as primarily a coaching blame, a personnel blame, or a both blame depending on the lines of communication and how much the coaching staff believed in Hernandez based on their day to day looks. We know Cora was very publicly positive on him, but I think we'd expect or hope the head coach to be that way for a veteran player being asked to do something he didn't necessarily sign up for - was he actively sounding the alarms to the FO or was he going with it all being okay. I don't expect we'll ever know of course - but I know my feelings on Cora's future in Boston and this decision could shift if I found out that Cora was sounding the alarm and the FO basically went "well, this is what we have, try to make it work) vs. if Cora knew this was likely a bad idea but played it positive.
 

CreightonGubanich

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The combination of all those factors, though -- Story's uncertain timeline, Kike moving to a less familiar and more defensively demanding position, Mondesi's status as a complete, albeit moderately interesting, wildcard, and Christian Arroyo's health history -- arguably made it a bad idea to go into the season with Hernandez set to start at short and Arroyo at second. Elvis Andrus wasn't a sure bet to be better than any of those guys, but he didn't cost much and would have given them another option, and throwing him into the mix at the major league level, probably at second with Arroyo as the utility guy, wouldn't have taken ABs from anyone good enough to complain about not getting them.

Andrus' name was thrown around so frequently here that Bloom's decision not to add a short term insurance policy like him is the type of thing that makes the criticism of Bloom not liking to make the obvious move, which is usually an eyeroll emoji, seem like it might have some validity.

But even this discussion about the middle infield has to be placed into context -- we had just come off a season where the Red Sox were content to start the year with the corpse of Jackie Bradley Jr. in right field. They didn't even find a platoon mate for him. It was an obvious problem going into spring training, and it continued to be a problem all season.

I liked Bloom, for the most part I thought he was doing the right thing. But when I look back, it's issues like these that are more tangible examples of some of his shortcomings than, for example, the conversation about finding frontline starting pitching. On one hand, it's absolutely correct to say that we don't and can't know what other options may have been on the table, and that it was Bloom's job to find them. It's also appropriate to ground that discussion with the ways in which his hands were tied - via payroll with bad contracts that predated him, and via a lack of top prospects with which to go pry loose a young ace.
 

Fishy1

Head Mason
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Nov 10, 2006
5,508
The combination of all those factors, though -- Story's uncertain timeline, Kike moving to a less familiar and more defensively demanding position, Mondesi's status as a complete, albeit moderately interesting, wildcard, and Christian Arroyo's health history -- arguably made it a bad idea to go into the season with Hernandez set to start at short and Arroyo at second. Elvis Andrus wasn't a sure bet to be better than any of those guys, but he didn't cost much and would have given them another option, and throwing him into the mix at the major league level, probably at second with Arroyo as the utility guy, wouldn't have taken ABs from anyone good enough to complain about not getting them.

Andrus' name was thrown around so frequently here that Bloom's decision not to add a short term insurance policy like him is the type of thing that makes the criticism of Bloom not liking to make the obvious move, which is usually an eyeroll emoji, seem like it might have some validity.

But even this discussion about the middle infield has to be placed into context -- we had just come off a season where the Red Sox were content to start the year with the corpse of Jackie Bradley Jr. in right field. They didn't even find a platoon mate for him. It was an obvious problem going into spring training, and it continued to be a problem all season.

I liked Bloom, for the most part I thought he was doing the right thing. But when I look back, it's issues like these that are more tangible examples of some of his shortcomings than, for example, the conversation about finding frontline starting pitching. On one hand, it's absolutely correct to say that we don't and can't know what other options may have been on the table, and that it was Bloom's job to find them. It's also appropriate to ground that discussion with the ways in which his hands were tied - via payroll with bad contracts that predated him, and via a lack of top prospects with which to go pry loose a young ace.
Does Yu Chang count? Cause he added him too, and guess what happened? He got injured as well!
 

cantor44

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Forgoing what we don't know, I think what Bloom actually did fits with our understanding of him as guy who likes to try to thread the needle and make decisions that are conservative in terms of monetary commitment/years. Kluber is a great example of that, as are Duvall and Turner. Bloom bet that Kluber + Sale + Houck + Whitlock + Paxton would give him at least a couple of guys who were healthy enough to provide enough competitive innings to get them into the playoffs. I can't know if he promised this, but it seems like he did: I'll keep us under the cap and get us into the playoffs. He bet that Kike would be as good at SS as he had been in the past. He bet that Duvall would stay healthy enough to hold down center field. When those pitchers went down, he bet that the rotation cast of back-up pitchers, from Dinelson Lamet to Ryan Brasier, would provide enough quality innings that the team would stay above water.
I was pilloried earlier this summer for describing Bloom as conservative. Derisively told to "keep doing what I do." I think it's clear he was cautious. And now the intel suggests even too cautious for ownership, mayhaps. Alas.
 

Fishy1

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Nov 10, 2006
5,508
I was pilloried earlier this summer for describing Bloom as conservative. Derisively told to "keep doing what I do." I think it's clear he was cautious. And now the intel suggests even too cautious for ownership, mayhaps. Alas.
Pilloried? Oh no!

My sense is that if he was asked to keep them under the tax apron, he was in a bit of a bind. If he promised ownership that he could win and keep them under the apron, then he was promising the moon, and it's no surprise he got fired. But if Henry & co wanted a rebuild while being competitive while also staying under the apron, Bloom might have promised something he couldn't realistically do.

EDIT: To elaborate... Another way of thinking about this is that he had limited money to spend. Getting Kluber, Turner, Martin, Jansen, Mondesi, Chang and Duvall was how he chose to plug a lot of different holes. You can quibble with how they spent that money -- maybe he should have gone big and secured a starting pitcher (and I understand that might have been hard), but then maybe we wouldn't have had Turner or Chris Martin. It's tough.
 
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Rovin Romine

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You really think this is all on the hitting coach? Kike hasn't hit since 2018, Arroyo has never been anything but a slightly above average hitter at best, Valdez got less than 150 PAs, and Story came back from surgery.

I think this is on two guys not being good hitters anymore, one guy not getting enough sample to know for sure, and one guy being all out of sync after missing 5 months.
I don't know if it's on the hitting coach(es) per se, but there's certainly a failure here with hitting evaluation. And I think a lot of that has to do with the hitting coach and field staff.

So, put on your GM hat. Hernandez has had an up and down history - a spreadsheet will tell you that. But now you're going into 2023, you know Story is injured, you know Mondesi is on the 60day IL, you are weighing whether to keep Hernandez in the OF, or sign Renfroe so you can transfer him to SS/2B. So like, where do you get your information to base your decision on? I think there have to be internal statistical projections; I think those have to be informed by the field staff/scouts. (Because no matter how sophisticated those statistical projections are, they can only build on the data they have. So they're not going to necessarily tell you if a MiL player has a hole in their swing, or if Hernandez's hip is fully healed and he's crushing the ball in the cage or whatever.)

I think it's pretty clear they expected Hernandez to be a league average hitter. (Before the emergence of Duran, I think the concern was getting enough MI coverage so Hernandez could play CF at some point.) So the failure point can't really be only statistical. It's got to be informed by scouting/field staff reports. Which had to be - "Hernandez will hit."

***
With Arroyo the failure is a failure to maintain skills. The guy just cratered at age 28, for no reason I'm aware of. (But maybe there was a hidden injury?) Anyway, absent injury, that seems to be in the realm of the hitting coach. As far as planning goes, given his two year track record, I'm not sure that Arroyo's probable competence had to be sold as much as Hernandez's did.

Valdez is a backup, but if you've got a weakness there and he's the first up, you do want to put resources into developing him. I don't know if they did or not.

Story. . .again, I'm sure his timing is off. But it's been off for a long while now. Up on Aug. 8, he's played 33 ML games, 129 PAs. His OPS+ is 39. In the last 8 games (which is cherry-picked in the most pro-Story way to capture his 3 hit game) is OPS is .633, inflated by a pair of doubles and a HR. Maybe it's a normal thing. But we know that the hitting coaches haven't helped Story to beat the curve on this.

Again, I think that's like a coaching area responsibility. The only place an analysis would be statistically informed is if there's data showing players returning from Story's surgery need a full month of ML games to begin hitting at a level of marginal competence. But if that we're true, they would have known back in January they weren't getting Story back until mid-September. And if they knew that, I think they'd have planned a bit differently. Because they'd have to win their place and view Story as a last-minute injection/post-season player.

So conversely, it seems they expected Story to be back as Trevor Story at some point in August. But he can't hit. And so who is supposed to help him do that?
 

Rovin Romine

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The combination of all those factors, though -- Story's uncertain timeline, Kike moving to a less familiar and more defensively demanding position, Mondesi's status as a complete, albeit moderately interesting, wildcard, and Christian Arroyo's health history -- arguably made it a bad idea to go into the season with Hernandez set to start at short and Arroyo at second. Elvis Andrus wasn't a sure bet to be better than any of those guys, but he didn't cost much and would have given them another option, and throwing him into the mix at the major league level, probably at second with Arroyo as the utility guy, wouldn't have taken ABs from anyone good enough to complain about not getting them.

Andrus' name was thrown around so frequently here that Bloom's decision not to add a short term insurance policy like him is the type of thing that makes the criticism of Bloom not liking to make the obvious move, which is usually an eyeroll emoji, seem like it might have some validity.

But even this discussion about the middle infield has to be placed into context -- we had just come off a season where the Red Sox were content to start the year with the corpse of Jackie Bradley Jr. in right field. They didn't even find a platoon mate for him. It was an obvious problem going into spring training, and it continued to be a problem all season.

I liked Bloom, for the most part I thought he was doing the right thing. But when I look back, it's issues like these that are more tangible examples of some of his shortcomings than, for example, the conversation about finding frontline starting pitching. On one hand, it's absolutely correct to say that we don't and can't know what other options may have been on the table, and that it was Bloom's job to find them. It's also appropriate to ground that discussion with the ways in which his hands were tied - via payroll with bad contracts that predated him, and via a lack of top prospects with which to go pry loose a young ace.
I think the real issue is how much post hoc reasoning we're engaging in. There's always going to be some uncertainty somewhere, and you can't have the luxury of having every single transition spot (Casas, Yoshida) backed by an average ML player. Otherwise they'd likely be playing.

IMO, the MI situation this year didn't seem to be a screaming disaster in April, given that a healthy/ready Hernandez had all the skills to be an average SS, even if his bat was still a bit light. (Turned out to be comatose.) But I don't disagree that looking forward in January of 2023, Elvis might have been a better choice for the 3rd spot than Chang.

OTOH, JBJ is something that you have to be more certain about (statistically or scouting), and you do have to have some backup plan in place in case his rebound isn't what you hope for. I thought they must know something, and were realistically hoping for enough offense to make his defense in RF worth it. They also wiffed big on Cordero that year (pun intended), and Hernandez was constantly injured. So the OF was only redeemed by an average Verdugo and an excellent-but-limited Refsnyder. Double scouting/coaching failure and an injury. Kind of like this year's MI.

Going back another year to 2021, Dalbec is another example. Travis Shaw was his backup, and Shaw was just 100% cooked to begin 2021, while Dalbec was quickly exposed. There was a similar sort of double failure there in assessment, and again, the club was very slow to plug that gap. In part probably because Casas was on the way up, just like they were slow to plug the MI gap this year with a long-term player because Mayer is on his way up. And I think that parallel is instructive. (You might also remember Schwarber completely reworked Dalbec's swing with him, and Dalbec had that resurgence.)

This year they got Turner to be the backup/platoon bat for Casas, which was nice insurance. They also got CF Duvall on a short contract to be a bit of a buffer for Yoshida and whomever might break out from AAA. So I think some risk-spreading lessons were learned.
 
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Petagine in a Bottle

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Jan 13, 2021
10,139
Shaw was acquired around the ‘21 deadline, played well, and was the backup to Dalbec to start ‘22. Which is weird because it feels like a hundred years ago to me.
 

8slim

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I don't know if it's on the hitting coach(es) per se, but there's certainly a failure here with hitting evaluation. And I think a lot of that has to do with the hitting coach and field staff.

So, put on your GM hat. Hernandez has had an up and down history - a spreadsheet will tell you that. But now you're going into 2023, you know Story is injured, you know Mondesi is on the 60day IL, you are weighing whether to keep Hernandez in the OF, or sign Renfroe so you can transfer him to SS/2B. So like, where do you get your information to base your decision on? I think there have to be internal statistical projections; I think those have to be informed by the field staff/scouts. (Because no matter how sophisticated those statistical projections are, they can only build on the data they have. So they're not going to necessarily tell you if a MiL player has a hole in their swing, or if Hernandez's hip is fully healed and he's crushing the ball in the cage or whatever.)

I think it's pretty clear they expected Hernandez to be a league average hitter. (Before the emergence of Duran, I think the concern was getting enough MI coverage so Hernandez could play CF at some point.) So the failure point can't really be only statistical. It's got to be informed by scouting/field staff reports. Which had to be - "Hernandez will hit."

***
With Arroyo the failure is a failure to maintain skills. The guy just cratered at age 28, for no reason I'm aware of. (But maybe there was a hidden injury?) Anyway, absent injury, that seems to be in the realm of the hitting coach. As far as planning goes, given his two year track record, I'm not sure that Arroyo's probable competence had to be sold as much as Hernandez's did.

Valdez is a backup, but if you've got a weakness there and he's the first up, you do want to put resources into developing him. I don't know if they did or not.

Story. . .again, I'm sure his timing is off. But it's been off for a long while now. Up on Aug. 8, he's played 33 ML games, 129 PAs. His OPS+ is 39. In the last 8 games (which is cherry-picked in the most pro-Story way to capture his 3 hit game) is OPS is .633, inflated by a pair of doubles and a HR. Maybe it's a normal thing. But we know that the hitting coaches haven't helped Story to beat the curve on this.

Again, I think that's like a coaching area responsibility. The only place an analysis would be statistically informed is if there's data showing players returning from Story's surgery need a full month of ML games to begin hitting at a level of marginal competence. But if that we're true, they would have known back in January they weren't getting Story back until mid-September. And if they knew that, I think they'd have planned a bit differently. Because they'd have to win their place and view Story as a last-minute injection/post-season player.

So conversely, it seems they expected Story to be back as Trevor Story at some point in August. But he can't hit. And so who is supposed to help him do that?
I'll ask this sincerely... is this all a way to pin blame on Cora?
 

chawson

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Aug 1, 2006
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Shaw was an absurd choice to make the 2022 roster. And as a pretty big fan of Kiké Hernandez, Red Sox center fielder, I really disliked the idea of moving him to short, which weakened the defense substantially in the two most significant areas.

But as it was all in service of staying under the tax (and allowing some wiggle room for midseason additions), I'm not sure what else could have worked. I don't think a plan of Kiké/Chang/Mondesi for April-June and then Story for July-Sep is a terrible one. Adding Pablo Reyes, a guy whose bWAR (0.8) was within half a win of Carlos Correa's (1.3) in about a third of the playing time, was a nice touch too. Rojas and Wendle, two cheap adds we were rumored in on, had terrible/hurt years.

I don't think adding Elvis Andrus would have fixed anything. On June 15th, Andrus was hitting .195/.277/.240 in a hitters' park. Signing him would have either precluded grabbing Reyes or we'd have DFA'd him for Reyes.
 

nvalvo

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Honestly, I don’t hate Bloom strategy of casting a wide net later on in the draft. I guess I just wish they weren’t all guys who throw 88-90 hoping they add 5-6 MPH in velocity in the minors.
That's more or less who's available later on in the draft, though.
 

Adirondack jack

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I'll ask this sincerely... is this all a way to pin blame on Cora?
...Another angle, that we can only speculate about could be the medical staff. Everybody in the league was worried about Story's arm...

Story finished out '22 with a bum arm. It may have been overly optimistic to think 8-10 weeks of rest was going miraculously cause his elbow to heal on its own. The middle infield crisis might have been abated a decent bit had Story's surgery happened late September instead of January .
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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...Another angle, that we can only speculate about could be the medical staff. Everybody in the league was worried about Story's arm...

Story finished out '22 with a bum arm. It may have been overly optimistic to think 8-10 weeks of rest was going miraculously cause his elbow to heal on its own. The middle infield crisis might have been abated a decent bit had Story's surgery happened late September instead of January .
This is not at all what happened with Story. He had the elbow surgery in January because that's when he injured it. Yes, he had elbow issues in the past, but he hurt himself while working out in preparation for moving back to short.
 

moondog80

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Sep 20, 2005
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...Another angle, that we can only speculate about could be the medical staff. Everybody in the league was worried about Story's arm...

Story finished out '22 with a bum arm. It may have been overly optimistic to think 8-10 weeks of rest was going miraculously cause his elbow to heal on its own. The middle infield crisis might have been abated a decent bit had Story's surgery happened late September instead of January .
Players are given a wide degree of latitude when it comes to things like major surgery.
 

Adirondack jack

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Players are given a wide degree of latitude when it comes to the decision about things like major surgery.
As they should.

In Sept. '22 Story might not have been figuring he'd be playing SS in the spring and his elbow didn't hold up to him trying to ramp it up (although I am not sure of the exact scenario of how the injury occurred. I just figured it was the same bad arm that wasn't a secret before he was acquired.)

Just purely in the black and white, the surgery not occurring until January didn't help Bloom's squad
 

sezwho

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As they should.

In Sept. '22 Story might not have been figuring he'd be playing SS in the spring and his elbow didn't hold up to him trying to ramp it up (although I am not sure of the exact scenario of how the injury occurred. I just figured it was the same bad arm that wasn't a secret before he was acquired.)

Just purely in the black and white, the surgery not occurring until January didn't help Bloom's squad
He may well still work out (and I certainly hope he does!) but I wonder if Story cost Bloom his job more than Sale.

The big money long term FA he pulled out of the discount bin played hobbled, then broke completely. For those happy to ride out the prospect restock, and not really focused on the MLB team, maybe thats not big deal. However, if you were planning to win during those first years (and we literally all agree this was the hard part) then wasting that $ and roster spot on a broken SS was a killer.
 

Yo La Tengo

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I was driving last night and I listened to Rays v. Baltimore. In the days before the Internet if you liked baseball you learned how to pick up am clear channel stations at night (From BTV you can pick up every team east of the Mississippi above the Mason Dixon line.)

And so I heard Zach Eflin throw 7 innings, strike out 10, retire 16 in a row at one point, and give up 1 hit - a solo home run in the 7th.

And this is in a game that very much mattered.

And I thought that was it. If Eflin had been a Red Sox we would have made the playoffs. Eflin is 15-8 and is 5th in baseball in xFIP. Had Bloom signed Eflin my guess he saves his job. But he was matched by Tampa and didn't up the ante.
I agree. If Eflin starts the year instead of Kluber, Bloom likely still has a job, although I think the Martin and Jansen deals were based on not being able to sign Eflin or Eovaldi, so the bullpen might have looked very different.
 

Fishy1

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I agree. If Eflin starts the year instead of Kluber, Bloom likely still has a job, although I think the Martin and Jansen deals were based on not being able to sign Eflin or Eovaldi, so the bullpen might have looked very different.
I think I was saying something similar earlier, but upon digging in a little... Eflin's deal was 3/$40m, Eovaldi was 2/$34m, Kluber's was 1/$10m, Martin's was 2/$17.5m and Jansen's was 2/$32. Which is to say they probably still could have gone out and got at least one of Jansen or Martin even if they'd committed to Eovaldi/Eflin. They might have alternatively foregone Duvall at 1/$7m and started the year with Kike in center and Chang at SS. Hard to say without digging into the numbers a little more.