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Monday, August 17, 2020

Boston Red Sox executive Chaim Bloom says team has ‘a lot of work to do’

The Boston Red Sox are in rough shape and chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom knows the challenge ahead.

“This isn’t what any of us want,” Bloom told the Boston Globe on Sunday. “There’s a lot of work to do.”

The Red Sox (6-16) have lost seven straight and have the worst record in the American League. They have started 11 different pitchers in just 22 games this season. That roster instability was evident early on.

Boston lost ace Chris Sale to injury, presumed Opening Day starter Eduardo Rodriguez to COVID-19 complications and dealt David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of a deal that also sent out MVP outfielder Mookie Betts.

“Obviously the results have not been what we wanted,” Bloom said. “We knew that we were down a couple of pitchers and that this was going to be an area of our team that was a work in progress and certainly we’ve gotten really poor results so far.”

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 17, 2020 at 08:38 AM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: red sox

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   1. jmurph Posted: August 17, 2020 at 09:42 AM (#5970017)
Hard disagree for me, I'm loving the payroll flexibility projections going forward. Hate to see them do anything to impact what looks like a generational revenue opportunity in 2022.
   2. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: August 17, 2020 at 10:54 AM (#5970022)
2020 is a dumpster fire, and I don't care at all, as a Red Sox fan:

1) This baseball season is a dumpster fire, anyway. The Red Sox have 38 games to go in the season - it will be over before you know it (September 27th). I mean, we are talking about a season where one team has played eight games (St. Louis) while other teams have played up to 23 games already, and there is zero percent chance of making up all those games. The whole thing is a joke.

2) If the team had not traded Betts and Price, they would be better...but not a ton better. Price wouldn't even be playing because he opted out, and Sale was going to miss the year, anyway. Betts is awesome, but he was going to walk after the season anyway, so let's save the money, get some young guys with upside, and start building for the next good team right now.

3) Did anybody think they were going to be any good? They told everybody they were going to suck through their actions. This roster is what a white flag looks like. In terms of guys currently playing, the only ones that likely have anything to do with the next championship-quality team are Devers, Bogaerts, hopefully Verdugo, and maybe they can get Benintendi back on track (who is looking more and more like a poor man's Mike Greenwell). Vazquez is a valuable catcher to have on the roster, though he'll actually be making some money next year, so that value proposition is starting to fade. There are a couple of bullpen arms who may be useful over the next few years, but if they can get interesting lottery ticket prospects for any of them at the deadline in a few weeks, they should do it...

4) There are only six guys getting paid more than $8 million in 2020 to be on the Red Sox: Pedroia, who won't even play (he's got one more year of getting paid in 2021); Bradley (who will be gone at the end of the season); Sale (who is out for the year, but signed through 2024); JD Martinez (who has an out after the season, though it seems unlikey he would take it; otherwise, the team owes him $19.375m each of 2021 and 2022); and Bogearts (who gets $20m a year through 2025, which seems like a steal at the moment); and Eovaldi, who gets $17m a year through 2022.

Red Sox fans should be prepared for another pretty terrible season in 2021, though a lot of the crappy 29 year old players who can't pitch or hit in 2020 will be replaced with a bunch of 23 year old players who may be able to pitch or hit. Then, in 2022, the team spends money.

   3. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: August 17, 2020 at 11:05 AM (#5970024)
I think SBPT has it. I don't expect much next year but I think they will be better. EdRod being back, some version of Sale (sort of the late career Sabathia), and probably some starting pitcher that they get from somewhere (Clevinger?) then in 2022 they are back in contention. I like Verdugo a lot, Bogaerts is a stud and despite his struggles this year I'm bullish on Devers. I think you're right that JDM might be back if the FA market looks unappealing after this season. I don't know what to make of Benny, he's better than this obviously but he's not a star. Markakis has always been the comp in my mind though I like the Greenwell comp. I'm excited to see Jarren Duran next year and Bobby Dalbec too though I'm not especially optimistic on the latter.

Vazquez is curious. Has anyone studied the effects of dreadful pitching performances on catchers? He started out hot after a great year last year but his bat has gone in the tank as the pitching staff has. We know catchers typically decline as a year goes on and it doesn't seem unreasonable that being behind the plate for a staff throwing 160-170 pitches a night presumably would take a toll. I'll be curious to see what we got in Darwinzon. I think he's. stud reliever waiting to happen but it looks like they are gearing him up to start this year which is the right call. If he or Mata can become a reliable starter that's a huge boost.
   4. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: August 17, 2020 at 11:25 AM (#5970031)
Devers strikeout rate is over 30 percent after last year being under 20 percent. Just a slump? Other?
   5. villageidiom Posted: August 17, 2020 at 11:27 AM (#5970033)
This seems like a good enough place to discuss Ron Roenicke.

We knew this team would not be good without Betts, Price, Sale, and Rodriguez. (OK, sure, Porcello too.) We did not expect their pitching staff to suck this much. Or their defense to suck this much. And we especially didn't expect their hitting to suck this much.

Losing is a disease blah blah blah, but this team is playing unfocused baseball in nearly every aspect. When that happens it's natural to look toward the manager. This season is odd because, with the team and the media being mostly separated there's no good "inside look" on how the team's coaching staff is operating. I assume in a little more than a month we'll hear that Roenicke is being let go, and before that we won't hear much of anything.
   6. The Mighty Quintana Posted: August 17, 2020 at 11:29 AM (#5970034)
At this point, I'd be happy if Benintendi turns into Darren Bragg.
   7. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: August 17, 2020 at 11:42 AM (#5970036)
5--With about eight weeks maybe the Sox don't have to pay anything on his contract because he didn't make it out of his probationary period.

//jk
   8. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 17, 2020 at 12:41 PM (#5970054)
Betts is awesome, but he was going to walk after the season anyway . . .
Is there some reason to believe Betts would have spurned the Red Sox had they been the high bidder, or had offered him a boatload of cash before he reached free agency? Seems to have worked for the Dodgers.
   9. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: August 17, 2020 at 01:37 PM (#5970067)
#8 - I say that for two reasons:

1) There are multiple reports that after the 2018 season, the Red Sox offered Betts a 10 year, $300 extension; he countered with 12 years and $420 million. Reportedly, that is when the team first realized the chances they were going to be able to keep him were low;

2) Perhaps relatedly, the Red Sox saw after the 2019 season that the team was not in a position to maintain their 2018 dominance over an extended period with what they had, and they were intent to getting below the luxury tax threshhold for 2020. It was going to be difficult to do that with Price's money, and Betts wasn't likely to resign with them, anyway.

Betts obviously ended up signing for a lot less than 12 years, $420 million - but then, nobody could have seen the economic of baseball impacted by a pandemic until it was upon us.

It would have been very frustrating from a fan perspective to see this team at, say, 10-13 right now, in the middle of a whatever season, with David Price sitting at home and Mookie Betts being dangled at the deadline next week for pennies on the dollar (because you couldn't have traded Price at that moment, I am guessing). I am glad they made this trade, given the situation.

   10. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: August 17, 2020 at 01:39 PM (#5970068)
#5 - Ron Roenicke will be the answer to a trivia question in 15 years, along the lines of, "Who was the coach of the New England Patriots in the early 1990s, that year when they went 1-15?"

He's a one-year guy in an impossible tranisition situation, who was never supposed to be managing the team this year. There is a better chance Cora is the manager in 2021 than Roenicke.
   11. villageidiom Posted: August 17, 2020 at 03:02 PM (#5970085)
There is a better chance Cora is the manager in 2021 than Roenicke.
I think there's a better chance Roenicke is the manager starting 2021 than Cora because I think Cora is radioactive at this point. But I think there's no way Roenicke will end 2021 as the manager.
   12. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: August 17, 2020 at 03:08 PM (#5970090)
Yeah, I’m with vi and SBPT on all fronts. This isn’t his fault but he’s sure as hell not looking like he’s remotely close to the answer and I fully expect someone else to be the manager next year (and I am not expecting it to be Cora either).

Devers strikeout rate is over 30 percent after last year being under 20 percent. Just a slump? Other?


little of column A, little of column B. I’m not especially concerned about negative results by players this season because this entire season falls in the category of “other.” Devers is a young slugger and intuitively that’s two types of players I’d expect to scuffle in the early going. Presumably young players aren’t as equipped to manage their preparation in an odd stoppage like this as veteran players would be (and Devers reportedly was not in the best shape when “Spring 2.0” started) and the conventional wisdom has always been that sluggers start slow. Counter examples exist of course but Devers was at .261/.346/.319 at this point last year. The other thing this year is that he’s been in a fielding slump since the start (think he made errors the first two games) and again, that’s the kind of thing that can throw a young player a bit.

The one thing I’m a bit concerned about is some of the things JD Martinez has been saying. I feel like he’s been leaning on absence of the ipads for live in game video as a bit of a crutch a lot. My impression is that Devers really loooks up to him so there might be some excuse-making by the two of them at work. JDM of course has a track record so he’ll be fine and Devers is for real, I fully expect him to have many more years like last year so even if he never really gets going this year I’m not worried about him at all.
   13. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: August 17, 2020 at 03:09 PM (#5970092)
If I had to guess the manager of the Boston Red Sox next year is Carlos Febles.
   14. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 17, 2020 at 03:49 PM (#5970110)
There are multiple reports that after the 2018 season, the Red Sox offered Betts a 10 year, $300 extension; he countered with 12 years and $420 million. Reportedly, that is when the team first realized the chances they were going to be able to keep him were low;
Who could have foreseen that a deal might be done around the midpoint of the parties early negotiating positions, eh? To me, that suggests that the Red Sox preferred not to pay fair market value for Betts, rather than him being determined to walk.
   15. villageidiom Posted: August 17, 2020 at 04:46 PM (#5970131)
Who could have foreseen that a deal might be done around the midpoint of the parties early negotiating positions, eh? To me, that suggests that the Red Sox preferred not to pay fair market value for Betts, rather than him being determined to walk.
That's not an either/or. Pre-pandemic, I think both were true. But that's because I think pre-pandemic Betts' fair market value would have been higher, and Betts' desire to walk were higher, than either were mid-pandemic.

Put another way, back when Betts was still with Boston, had Boston countered with the same offer as Betts eventually accepted from LA I think Betts would have walked. And I think he would have been right to do so, as I think a better offer was probably out there to be had. Mid-pandemic I'm not sure a better offer would have been out there, and Betts' desire to seek a better offer was likely lower.

The point you really want to make, though, is correct: Boston didn't want to pay fair market value for Betts. I'm just saying for a fairly obvious reason the market has materially changed on both sides since then, and it's folly to apply mid-pandemic evidence to assess pre-pandemic market conditions.
   16. Tom Goes to the Ballpark Posted: August 17, 2020 at 05:13 PM (#5970134)
Betts’s deal with LA isn’t really the midpoint of 10/$300M and 12/$420M. It has so much deferred money that it is basically 12/$305M.
   17. Walt Davis Posted: August 17, 2020 at 09:44 PM (#5970227)
Pre-pandemic, 10/$300 for Betts wasn't a good offer. It might have been enough for a starting point but everybody knew he was gonna get a lot more than that. And, as #16 notes, there can be a lot going on behind the headline number. But for sure, the pandemic changed everybody's math dramatically so I don't see any way to make an informed guess as to what the Red Sox might have offered or Betts accepted had they kept him.
   18. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: August 18, 2020 at 08:48 AM (#5970256)
My point on Betts and the Red Sox is this:

The Red Sox were not willing to be the high bidder for Betts, and Betts was not interested in taking a hometown discount.

They were not going to come to an agreement, so you might as well get as much as you can for him, accelerate the rebuild, and get out from under the luxury tax penalties.
   19. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: August 18, 2020 at 12:10 PM (#5970295)
My point on Betts and the Red Sox is this:

The Red Sox were not willing to be the high bidder for Betts, and Betts was not interested in taking a hometown discount.

They were not going to come to an agreement, so you might as well get as much as you can for him, accelerate the rebuild, and get out from under the luxury tax penalties.


The certainty here just amazes me. The Sox as an org have not shied away from large contracts, they just bought David Price and JD Martinez in recent years, extended Porcello, and were willing to take on Kimbrel's contract to name a few. 10/$300 was not an insulting offer, there's no reason it couldn't have been the starting point for negotiations.

If JD Martinez had opted out, or even if the ####### stupid offer to Eovaldi had never been made the Sox would probably have come to an agreement with Betts, but they stupidly painted themselves into a perceived corner and took the easy blow it up route out.
   20. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 18, 2020 at 01:22 PM (#5970307)
. . . but they stupidly painted themselves into a perceived corner and took the easy blow it up route out.
That’s the part I’ve never really understood. After 2016, it should have been apparent that it would take a high dollar contract to retain Betts into his free agent years, and that he was such a good player that retaining his services made for a much better team. His 2018 MVP year only reinforced that. Still, the Red Sox continued to hand out contracts to others that guaranteed they would need to exceed the luxury tax threshold to re-sign Betts, which most observers thought they would be willing to do, paying the tax for at least for a few years until they could reconfigure the non-Betts roster. Then in the midst of of a disappointing 2019, ownership reverses course, fires Dombrowski, and makes getting under the luxury tax threshold the priority. What happened? Ownership wasn’t aware that they were on a path to exceed the luxury tax threshold? That seems unlikely. A poor 2019 totally changed ownership’s perspective on the team? Possible, I suppose, but you’d think winning the World Series the previous year would get you a longer leash. In any event, I have yet to hear an explanation for the 2019 course change that makes a lot of sense.
   21. karlmagnus Posted: August 18, 2020 at 03:37 PM (#5970347)
It became obvious during 2019 that they didn't have a team that would become a dynasty, and that Dombrowski had thrown so much money around in foolish directions that they were painted into a corner. So they fired Dombrowski and bit the bullet of not signing Betts.

They were fools to hire Dombrowski; Cherington was doing a Great job. With his farm system we might have missed out on 2018, but we'd have further shots now and for years to come, instead of having to rebuild. He constructed the Sox a very long window, which Dombrowski shortened unnecessarily by dealing the farm away (I bitterly regret Moncada, and others will doubtless emerge that are equally regrettable.)
   22. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 18, 2020 at 04:04 PM (#5970363)
He constructed the Sox a very long window, which Dombrowski shortened unnecessarily by dealing the farm away (I bitterly regret Moncada, and others will doubtless emerge that are equally regrettable.)

If you can only name one guy he traded away that's any good, there was no "very long window" in the first place.

One World Series is worth like 5 Grade A prospects, and he traded away one or two at most.
   23. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: August 18, 2020 at 04:12 PM (#5970367)
The Sox had a long window, I think they had built a team for a five year stretch during which they won 3 straight division titles and a World Series that featured the most successful club in franchise history. 2018 was similar to 2004 in that it was a team reaching the tail end of that core group (it was probably more like 2003 but let’s match the WS victories). The Sox had decisions to make on a number of key players; in 2004 they let most of them go, kept Varitek and Ortiz which worked well. The decision to keep Bogaerts was very good of course but Sale/Eovaldi instead of Mookie was not.
   24. villageidiom Posted: August 18, 2020 at 06:00 PM (#5970406)
Then in the midst of of a disappointing 2019, ownership reverses course, fires Dombrowski, and makes getting under the luxury tax threshold the priority. What happened?
I've suggested before a scenario that fits what little evidence we have:

1. Ownership told Dombrowski years ago that they wanted to compete, but they also needed to get under the threshold and reset the penalties in the 2020 season or earlier.

2. Each year when they did their planning a few months before the offseason Dombrowski would point out their window to compete is now, and said he'd deal with the reset later.

3. When the 2020 planning cycle came around in mid-2019, he tried to kick the reset plan down the road again.

4. So they canned him, for failing to do a significant part of what they had told him his job was.

I mean, if his job was to do both - compete and reset - the moves he made definitely emphasized one of those at the expense of the other. It was never a balance between the two. If ownership allowed him to win now at the cost of making his job harder later, and then he basically refused to do that harder job when he had to, then that would explain why they lost patience with him mid-2019.

If you can only name one guy he traded away that's any good, there was no "very long window" in the first place.
This is accurate. I think the thing to cite with Dombrowski isn't that he traded the farm away - as Jose has pointed out before he generally traded the right guys and promoted the right guys, and the example of a "wrong" guy to trade (Moncada) got them the right guy in return (Chris Sale). It's that Dombrowski didn't repopulate the farm. How many people on their MLB roster did Dombrowski draft? How many in the minors look like they'll make the MLB roster and make significant contributions? It's nothing compared to what he inherited. That reinforces my point that Dombrowski made his job harder. He kept signing the guys he had in front of him instead of moving on to lower-cost players because the lower-cost players he had were crap, which was also his doing.

I don't know where it is, but a few years ago I wrote in a thread here that the team had an absurd number of players entering arbitration in the upcoming years, and the team was about to get unsustainably expensive even if they didn't re-sign their free agents. They locked in Bogaerts (good!) and re-signed Sale and Eovaldi (two oft-injured pitchers), which made it even harder. Worse, they signed JD Martinez, which was a lot of money (in a contract with an untradeable series of opt-outs) for a DH vacancy. Martinez was awesome, but in retrospect - as it was in forethought - it wasn't a great signing if the goal was a sustainable payroll. That money could have been put to better use elsewhere on the roster. And finally, if they wanted to replace free agents with players making the minimum, they didn't have the players making the minimum who would make a viably competitive team.

In most cases Dombrowski's solution was to throw money at the problem, but it finally reached a point where throwing money was the problem. That has never been this front office's mode since they took over almost 20 years ago. Sure they'd spend money, but they preached that to remain competitive they needed to balance spending a ton with developing a ton. That they held Dombrowski to that standard shouldn't be a surprise; that it took so long to fire him is what doesn't fit the pattern. To that I'd say... It's tough to fire someone in the middle of a 108-win season and a championship.
   25. villageidiom Posted: August 18, 2020 at 10:18 PM (#5970458)
I found the thread. It was when Boston was mulling over signing Martinez. This seems relevant:
So when we think of J.D. Martinez, we should be asking two questions:

a. Of all the roles they need to fill in the next couple of years, is his role (likely DH) a priority to fill from the free agent market?
b. Is he worth roughly a 50% tax, plus worse draft picks?

I think you can make a compelling argument in the affirmative for the first question, if you focus on winning now. Keeping the roster together becomes untenable in 2019, unrealistic in 2020, and unpossible beyond that. The major hole to fill seems to be a power-bat DH, so if you want to win now that’s the priority. Still, I really don’t think you can make the case on the second question. He’s on the scale of $38-$45 million per year counting the tax hit, and stomping on draft picks along the way. One way he wouldn’t cost as much is if they sign him and then don’t spend on other players for the next few years. J.D. Martinez really isn’t the kind of player I’d do that for.
Emphasis added, because that's basically the situation in which they find themselves.
   26. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 19, 2020 at 11:52 AM (#5970550)
I think the thing to cite with Dombrowski isn't that he traded the farm away - as Jose has pointed out before he generally traded the right guys and promoted the right guys, and the example of a "wrong" guy to trade (Moncada) got them the right guy in return (Chris Sale). It's that Dombrowski didn't repopulate the farm.

Agreed. That's where you criticize Dombrowski. His drafting/development was poor.
   27. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 19, 2020 at 01:09 PM (#5970574)
The Fenway Faithful may not like this one - Why A Bogaerts Trade Could Happen Soon:
Bogaerts' six-year, $120 million extension -- which pays him $20 million a year from 2020-25 with an option for '26 at the same amount -- comes with an interesting and timely caveat: full no-trade protection once he reaches seven years of service time. The date for Bogaerts, whose big league debut came in late August of 2013, to accrue seven full seasons? Sept. 6.

In other words, if the Red Sox ever are going to take advantage of trading Bogaerts on their terms -- that is, without his approval needed -- they have to do it during this Trade Deadline window. After the Aug. 31 Trade Deadline this year, Bogaerts gains essentially all of the leverage in the decision-making. In addition to the ability to veto a trade, he also will have the chance to opt out after 2022, per his contract, at which point he'll be entering his 30-age season.

That's an option Bogaerts "very well might pursue," Rosenthal wrote, "considering that 2021-22 free agents Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Javier Báez and Trevor Story already would have reset the market for shortstops."
No minor leagues, no scouting & much uncertainty about future revenue makes for a tough trade environment, but in a normal year Bogaerts would be an attractive trade target - might still be at the right price.
   28. Jay Seaver Posted: August 19, 2020 at 02:05 PM (#5970585)
I mean, sure, if John Henry doesn't mind never going out in public in the Boston area again.

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