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Friday, December 16, 2022

Do You Really Want John Henry To Sell The Red Sox? - Over the Monster

My biggest complaint about John Henry is his impatience and quick firing of GMs.

A top franchise needs stability at the top. The owner needs to hire a good GM and then give him the runway to execute his long-term plan. Otherwise, there will be no consistency.  GMs, even the ones with good long-term plans, get forced into short-term moves to keep critics at bay and to keep their jobs. Those short-term decisions usually undermine their plan. For a GM to build with a long view in mind, he has to know the chance that he’ll be around in five years is good. To that end an owner has to provide the needed stability AND cover by getting out in the press to explain the team’s vision. The team’s actions then need to match those words.

With four Red Sox championships in this century, John Henry has a successful track record to point to that demonstrates his ability to build winners. He is squandering his credibility in that regard by not being up-front about the team’s plan and by not taking the short-term heat from the team’s decisions. As a result, he’s losing the confidence of his passionate, but reasonable, fans.

As for Chaim Bloom, Dan O’Dowd nails the issues with Bloom in this segment. (I wanted to embed the video but it seems MLB doesn’t have that option any more.)

At the root of any team’s success is having the best possible player evaluations. I don’t care how much money the team spends; I don’t care about the effectiveness of their player development; and, I don’t care if their economic models are perfect. If a team doesn’t properly evaluate players, it can’t win over an extended time period. That was true in Branch Rickey’s day; that was true when the Yankees were dominant in the 50’s; that was true when the Orioles excelled in the 60’s and 70’s; that was true when the Braves won in the 90’s; and, it’s true now during the Dodgers current run. A team NEEDS to evaluate players well or it fails.

Chaim Bloom’s plan seems good (such that he’s explained it) but his talent evaluations simply haven’t been good. The proof is in the play of his acquisitions and in the standings, which are the ultimate judge of of a team’s decision making.

Now, I haven’t given up on Bloom and the Red Sox yet, but I’m tettering. Hopefully, some self-examination of their player evaluation process will lead to some changes/improvements to the way they evaluate players. Otherwise, the team will continue to flounder and the blood demands from the most impatient, unreasonable Red Sox fans will continue to spread to the rest of the fan base.


jimfurtado Posted: December 16, 2022 at 10:20 AM | 15 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: chaim bloom, john henry, red sox

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   1. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: December 16, 2022 at 01:41 PM (#6109749)
The transaction that concerns me the most from Bloom was probably the Renfroe trade, where Renfroe (who was arb-eligible, set to make $8m+ in 2022, and was quickly not going to be worth the money) was traded to Milwaukee for Jackie Bradley and two prospects (Alex Binelas and David Hamilton).

I loved the idea of trading Renfroe - it was a great example of "selling high". When the return was JBJ (who was making more than Renfroe was going to make, despite being one of the worst hitters in baseball in 2021), I was like:

1) Bloom must have a plan for somebody to play RF;
2) Bradley is going to be the 4th outfielder, providing tremendous defense in CF and RF, spotting him ABs against the right opponents, pinch-running, etc.;
3) These two prospects must be sneaky-good

1) There was zero plan for RF;
2) Bradley played way too much, and was awful;
3) The prospects are not particularly good.

Hamilton may be the best base-stealer in all of baseball, but he is a 25-year-old who just spent the season in AA hitting .251/.338/.402, and is, at best, an average defender.

Binelas is younger, but he is a bat-first corner infielder who hit .166 in AA to finish 2022, striking out almost 40% of the time there.

Bloom seems to overvalue marginal minor-league prospects - our 40-man roster has a ton of guys who are neither bad enough to let go through waivers without Pittsburgh or Cincinnati or somebody picking them up for free...nor good enough to help the major-league team. The 40-man currently includes:

Wilyer Abreu and Enmanuel Valdez (both picked up for Christan Valdez at the deadline)
Connor Seabold (picked up in the Workman deadline deal)
Franklin German (picked up in the Ottavino salary dump)
Josh Winckowski (picked up in the Benintendi trade)
Connor Wong (who was part of the Mookie trade; until yesterday, Jeter Downs was on the 40-man, too, depsite being awful the last two years, and he was another part of that trade)

Roberto Hernandez. Hudson Potts. Jacob Wallace.

I'll give Bloom Whitlock and Pivetta - tremendous values in both transactions. But too often, Bloom seems obsessed with adding depth to the minor-league system. We don't need more depth, at this point; we need major-league players to come out of the system. That Renfroe trade was so unbelievably poor. If he had simply non-tendered Renfroe, it would have been better for the team, because JBJ was worse than anything we could put out there; the prospects are nothing; and not paying JBJ in 2022 would have singlehandedly put the Red Sox below the luxury tax - which would have improved the comp draft pick we're getting for losing Bogaerts, and increased the international draft pool money we could spend. Just awful evaluation on multiple levels by Bloom.
   2. jimfurtado Posted: December 16, 2022 at 03:33 PM (#6109768)
As Dan O'Dowd also said the other day, the Red Sox should have just kept Renfroe and Benintendi. And, that goes back to what I said about player evaluation. If you are looking for undervalued players you have to be a great evaluator. You also have to know the strengths of your player development system. Bloom traded two decent players at the major league level but didn't pick up useful players in exchange.

If a team is 100% committed to a rebuild, commit. Playing lip service to competing and then not making moves that help your team win suggests you are lying or are incompetent.
   3. Bad Fish Posted: December 17, 2022 at 12:50 PM (#6109867)
In a vacuum, trading into strength, such as financial, to improve some aspect of the organization makes sense. However, making optional moves that degrade the ML team should be anathema. It was obvious that Bradley was not as good as Renfroe, and they had different career trajectories so you could reasonably infer that their performance delta was only going to expand. That trade for two meh prospects is kind of the anti-Dombrowski move.
   4. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: December 17, 2022 at 01:29 PM (#6109872)
It was obvious that Bradley was not as good as Renfroe, and they had different career trajectories so you could reasonably infer that their performance delta was only going to expand. That trade for two meh prospects is kind of the anti-Dombrowski move.


1) The only way Bloom could begin to justify this trade was if he thought Binelas and/or Hamilton were severely undervalued prospects. It is increasingly clear that is not the case. Why is Bloom acting like the Red Sox have to take chances like this to find undervalued assets to this extent? This isn't Tampa or Pittsburgh...this is Boston! They have plenty of money. Ownership has English Premier League team; they just bought the Pittsburgh Penguins; they own a NASCAR team; they are currently lining up with Lebron James to own the expected NBA expansion team in Las Vegas after James retires.

2) Henry and the ownership team were obviously not always like this. In fact, until 2019-2020, they really were never like this. Have they stretched themselves out too thin financially (see above...)? Do they think the fan base will continue spending money to see the team - that the franchise has a ton of capital with the fans after the four WS titles? Or is it possible that the Dombrowski-era signings of guys like David Price and Chris Sale were a bridge too far?
   5. Walt Davis Posted: December 17, 2022 at 03:00 PM (#6109889)
This is probably the most anonymous Red Sox team in a very long time. Devers, Story, Verdugo ... and I'm pretty much done. I'm not sure which starters they still have, which they don't. Not hearing their name attached in any serious way to FAs is odd.

Sure, Sale's been a bust. But that's just $30 M of what should be a $230 M payroll every year. You can do a lot of baseball good with $200 M.
   6. karlmagnus Posted: December 17, 2022 at 03:53 PM (#6109897)
I have wanted Henry to sell the Red Sox since he fired Dan Duquette at the beginning of 2002. He's a dodgy hedge fund owner with unstable finances and a loathsomely woke approach to life. Not surprising he is wearing out his welcome; just surprised it took so long.
   7. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: December 17, 2022 at 07:06 PM (#6109918)
Sounds like you'd like Elon Musk to buy the Red Sox, karl.
   8. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: December 17, 2022 at 07:07 PM (#6109919)
As Dan O'Dowd also said the other day, the Red Sox should have just kept Renfroe and Benintendi.

And/or Schwarber.
   9. karlmagnus Posted: December 17, 2022 at 08:51 PM (#6109931)
Musk would have been a good idea if he hadn't bought Twitter, but I think he too is now somewhat overstretched.
   10. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: December 18, 2022 at 01:02 AM (#6109948)
I realize it's not a hockey thread, but I thought Henry/FSG's purchase of the NHL Penguins last year was oddly timed. They very much bought high. They've been the NHL's showcase franchise for 15 years, but their championship window's been closed for a few years now. Crosby and Malkin are ancient, and it's not just them; the Penguins have the oldest roster in the league, and annually trade their draft picks away for more veterans. In 2-3 years they're going to be the worst team in the NHL, playing in an empty arena. The arena's not yet 15 years old so they're probably not a candidate for shiny new building or relocation anytime soon. John Henry must know something I don't, to have wanted to buy this particular team at this particular time.
   11. kubiwan Posted: December 19, 2022 at 12:25 PM (#6110124)
I have wanted Henry to sell the Red Sox since...2002.

You do realize that this is all just surpassingly stupid, right? During the 20-year period you have wanted him gone, the Sox have been one of the premier teams in the entire league. By some very important metrics, the very best of all. It is almost impossible that a different owner would have been better.

Since things like "winning" are clearly unimportant to you, what exactly do you want from an owner?

Not surprising he is wearing out his welcome; just surprised it took so long.

You are like an economist that has successfully predicted 10 of the last 2 recessions.
   12. Nasty Nate Posted: December 19, 2022 at 12:34 PM (#6110126)
You do realize that this is all just surpassingly stupid, right?
Assuming this is a response to karlmagnus, he is just a troll. You can disregard.
   13. karlmagnus Posted: December 19, 2022 at 03:51 PM (#6110145)
I'm a troll whose first live Red Sox game was the home opener of April 1972, so a troll with longevity. My favorite GM of the Henry era was Cherington; I liked the strategy of building via the farm and signing only elite free agents. Bloom is signing relievers left and right and very old players, which as a reader of Bill James I regard with horror as a strategy. Losing Betts, Bogaerts and almost certainly Devers is surely a sign of doing something very wrong.
   14. John Northey Posted: December 19, 2022 at 04:17 PM (#6110150)
It doesn't matter who owns a team - fans will complain. Steinbrenner owned the Yankees and they won 2 WS quickly, but it wasn't long before people complained a LOT about him. Henry has been owner while the Red Sox won their first WS since WWI - heck they have won 4 WS titles in this century after 5 the last century (both sets of titles all won from '03-'18). It would be funny if the Red Sox now go until 2105 to win their next title.

The Yankees have made the playoffs all but 4 times since 1995 yet I guarantee there are lots of people who wish their current owners would sell. I know there are Blue Jays fans sick of corporate ownership (which I see as the most boring & stable ownership - never in the headlines, just set a budget and let the baseball people deal with it unless red ink starts flowing then they switch who runs it). Baltimore once LOVED its active owner, then he got too active and things went south fast. Just the way it is.
   15. Jose is an Absurd Sultan Posted: December 19, 2022 at 07:56 PM (#6110160)
14 - Yeah. Look, Henry has his flaws no one is perfect but as long as he spends I’m fine. Now that’s a bit of a problem at the moment and worthy of concern. If they truly go into the season with $150 million payroll and let X and Mookie get away then that’s a problem. But four ####### World Series titles, I’m willing to trust they’ll get it fixed though things are disappointing at the moment. The last two decades have been glorious. I got to smoke a cigar with my father while celebrating a World Series title.

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