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Volume 26 No. 113
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Chaim Bloom Tasked With Guiding Red Sox Through Transitional Phase

The Red Sox named Rays Senior VP/Baseball Operations Chaim Bloom President of Baseball Operations, and he will "inherit a team in transition" after the Red Sox "missed the postseason for the first time" since '15, according to Peter Abraham of the BOSTON GLOBE. Red Sox Owner John Henry and Chair Tom Werner have said that they "want to slash payroll" approximately 15% to "get under MLB's luxury-tax threshold" of $208M. Reaching that goal "could require trading one or more high-salaried players." Bloom is "accustomed to succeeding with much tighter budgets," as the Rays had a payroll of approximately $68M this season. The Rays' analytics staff is "one of the largest in the game and Bloom is sure to make that a focal point of his regime." The Red Sox "believe Bloom can do for them" what former Rays exec Andrew Friedman has accomplished with the Dodgers as President of Baseball Operations. The Dodgers hired Friedman before the '15 season and they have "since led the majors in victories." Friedman also has "cut the team's payroll" by roughly 20% (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/26). Abraham in a separate piece wrote Bloom's job is to "add some ingenuity to the mix, to take the payroll from obscene to merely extravagant, and make the Red Sox a sustainable operation, not one with the dramatic peaks and valleys that have marked this decade" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/27).

TOUGH DECISIONS LOOMING: ESPN.com wrote it is a "crucial offseason for the Red Sox, who need to decide what to do" about RF Mookie Betts, who will be a free agent after next season. They also need to decide on DH J.D. Martinez, who can opt out of his deal five days after the World Series, and "other players on expiring contracts" (ESPN.com, 10/25). In Massachusetts, Christopher Smith notes Bloom "likely must decide between keeping" Martinez or Betts (Springfield REPUBLICAN, 10/28). The GLOBE's Abraham wrote Bloom's experience with "putting emotion aside and trading foundational players because the time had come should serve him well" with the Red Sox (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/27). In Boston, Jason Mastrodonato wrote Bloom is "no stranger to dealing with tight conditions, having been a part of an organization that's traded stars" such as 3B Evan Longoria and P Chris Archer to "shed money while acquiring some talented players in return and keeping the Rays competitive throughout" (BOSTON HERALD, 10/26).

HARD TO SWALLOW: In Tampa, John Romano wrote the Rays' front office is the "envy of the league, and it was only a matter of time before Bloom was snatched up." But it "would have been a lot nicer if he had gotten a job with the Giants or Mets last year." Romano: "Just somewhere far, far away from the Rays and the American League East." Bloom "doesn't just know" the Rays' "secret sauce, he's added some of the ingredients over the years." Now he will "bring some of those cutting edge concepts to a team with a revolving door on its vault." Bloom is "not as polished or charismatic" as former Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski, but he is "utterly secure in his own skin" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 10/26).