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Rosenthal: Red Sox ownership shares the blame for the disappointing team

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I cannot defend Chaim Blum. Not because of his inability to lead the trade. Not for his uninspired work so far this off-season. But red socks The property deserves as much, if not more, blame for the franchise’s current stalemate. Bloom, the team’s baseball chief of staff, shouldn’t be the only punching bag.

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the mets They spend hard because owner Steve Cohen is paying general manager Billy Eppler. the parents Keep adding stars because owner Peter Seidler empowers GM AJ Preller. the Yankees Hal Steinbrenner extended himself to keep the match Aaron Judge. until the Cubs Tom ‘Losses of Biblical Proportions’ Ricketts woke from a long slumber to authorize a $177 million deal Saturday with Shortstop. Dansby Swanson.

Red Sox under owners John Henry, Tom Werner & Company? They fail to respond to a changing market, one in which superstars get decade-long deals. dating back to Mookie PetsSox owners hated such contracts. They will need to adjust their philosophy to compete for top talent, including their third captain, Rafael Devers. Otherwise, they will need to trust Bloom to thread the needle, which he fails to do.

However, the Red Sox insist that all is well.

Team president Sam Kennedy told me the Saturday before the Red Sox lost to Swanson, a player they had an interest in. (Kennedy is a member of the royal group appointed to speak for Henry and Werner, who rarely speak for themselves in public.)

Thrives I spoke at winter meetings By adding “seven, eight, nine, maybe more players than we had after 22.” To this point, the Sox have added six – four relievers plus a fielder/DH Justin Turner38 years old, Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida, 29, is believed by many in the industry to have paid over $90 million for five years. They made early attempts to land a first baseman Jose Abreu and right hand Zack Evelyn. They were outbid by nearly $120 million on a player they claimed they wanted to keep, on short notice Xander Bogaerts.

It’s only December 19th. Bloom said the athleteChad Jennings that the Red Sox are “exploring trades very, very actively.” But as is so often the case with the Sox, exemplified most clearly by their “chasing” Bogart, there is a disconnect between their words and their actions.

Theoretically, the Sox could pull together the kind of offseason they did a decade ago before winning the 2013 World Series, handing out $100.45 million among seven mediocre free agents. But the 2013 club had stars like David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, and Jacoby Ellsbury performing at elite levels. The 2023 Devers Club will feature and… who exactly?

to Jim Bowden’s Top 25 Free AgentsThe only ones still available are right fielder Nathan Ivaldi, who the Sox are interested in keeping, and outfielder Michael Conforto, who missed all of last season with a shoulder injury that required surgery.

Kennedy said, “We were in the top five on the payroll last year. We’ll continue to do so.” But According to FangraphsThe Sox currently rank 12th in cash payrolls at $183.6 million and 14th in luxury tax payrolls (based on median annual salaries) at $202.7 million. They are over $30 million under the minimum. And at least in free agencies, almost all of the best players are gone.

It’s not that ownership lacks commitment — or at least it didn’t in the past. The Sox had the highest luxury taxpayers in both 2018 and 2019. They are ranked sixth in 2021, when they came within two games of reaching the World Series, and fourth in 2022, when they finished last in the AL East.

In some ways, 2022 has been a year where everything that could go wrong goes wrong; The Sox started the season with the fifth-best playoff prospect in the AL, According to Fangraphsbehind the blue jaysYankees Astros And the white stockings. Injuries played a role in tearing the Sox apart, but Kennedy rightly called them out
Recorded 35-51 after a 43-33 start, “an unmitigated disaster.”

In Kennedy’s view, the current discontent in the Red Sox Nation is a direct reflection of that ending. Many fans were begging to differ, attributing their upset to the fallout from that finale – the Sox’ lukewarm season.

“We realize that what makes this market great is that our fans care more than they do in any other market. It’s just unacceptable to our fandom when we’re not successful at the major league level,” Kennedy said. We understand that.

But we will not back down. We will do our best to continue making the right decisions for the organization in the short and long term. And central to that is enabling our baseball team to do what they know how to do. This has been a recipe for success for the past 21 years.”

Asked if that meant Bloom was responsible for decisions not to spend large sums on Bogart or even Corea, Kennedy replied in the negative, explaining that ownership is always involved in big money moves. Asked if Bloom was the subject of much criticism, Kennedy said “Sure. General managers in sports generally receive a lot of criticism and a lot of credit.”

But Bloom had more than his share of mistakes. Sox owners gave him a difficult task when they considered him a low-income player rays in October 2019, saying they wanted him to keep a major league club strong while rebuilding the minor league system. Everything appeared on track when the Sox advanced to the American League Championship in 2021. However, this season now feels like a mirage.

If the Sox were a flaming candle under Bloom’s predecessor, Dave Dombrowski, now they are a slow-burning candle, sometimes not even showing the candle lit. After Bogaerts agreed to his $280 million deal with the Padres, his agent, Scott Boras, hinted at the difference in the Sox’s approach under Bloom, saying “The decision-makers are different than before. It’s their process.” But free agency, the part of roster building perhaps most affected by ownership, isn’t the only area where Bloom falls short.

Consider Bloom’s returns in Bates trades, Andrew BenintendiAnd the Renfrew hunterMitch Moreland, Brandon Workman, Heath Hembrey Christian Vasquez. Up to this point, those trades have yielded a slightly above average cornerback (Alex Verdugo), backup catcher (Connor Wong), No. 4 start (Nick Bivetta) and rotation depth plot (Josh Winkowski), as well as a number of potential customers who have not yet met expectations. And on top of those disappointments: a player Jeter Downswho has arrived in the Betts trade and is assigned a mission to clear a spot on Yoshida’s 40-person roster.

Almost like the deals Bloom didn’t make by the 2022 deadline, Eovaldi’s puts and the designated speculator JD Martinez It would have lowered the Red Sox below the luxury tax threshold. But Bloom, backed by the monarchy, took a half-baked approach to deadline-not-quite-not-quite-out.

If the Sox really think they have a shot at making it to the postseason, they should keep Vasquez and left Jake Dickman Together with Ivaldi and Martinez. Instead, they tried playing it both ways, adding outfielder Tommy Pham, catcher Rhys McGuire And recently DFA’d a first baseman Eric Hosmer. For their efforts, they suffered the double infamy of finishing above the threshold and missing out on the playoffs – by eight games.

The damage will carry over to the next amateur draft. Getting below the bottom line would have enabled the Sox to get a pick after the competitive B-balance inning for Bogaerts, and for Ivaldi if they ended up losing him. Staying above would mean they make up for Bogaerts and maybe Eovaldi will be after the fourth round. The first pick after the second round of last year’s competitive weighing was No. 75. The first pick after the fourth round was No. 137.

Meanwhile, Hosmer’s trade cost the Sox left fielder Jay GroomFrom MLB.com He was installed as the Padres’ top 12 prospect, bringing in two other youngsters who never cracked the Top 30 Red Sox players. Not a fruitful exchange, but the Sox farm system has really improved under Bloom, at least according to various publications’ personal rankings.

However, what are we talking about here? As Kennedy said, the way to make fans happy is to win the World Championship, not to build the first order in the game. In addition, while the effects of Bloom’s trades and some of his trades have yet to be fully realized, two of the Sox’ top clients, the first baseman Triston Homes and right hand Brian Bellewwere players added under Dombrowski.

But enough about Bloom. Any analysis of his shortcomings must begin with the people who run the Red Sox money chains, the people who hold the ultimate power. It was the property that hired Bloom to bring Ray-like efficiency to the Sox, the property that bears the most responsibility for the loss of the Betts, the property that failed to pass Bogaerts’ $160 million and is now on the clock with Devers, who is entering his career year.

Back on September 1, she wrote, “For Sox ownership and major league baseball hitter Chaim Blum, the upcoming season looms as a turning point, if not a breaking point.” Office season is still turning. But try to convince anyone who follows this team that the Sox aren’t broke.

(Photo by John Henry: Billy Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images))

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