So What Exactly Are the Red Sox Doing?

The trade deadline has come and gone and the Red Sox seemingly want to have their foot in all camps and be everyone to everyone, which is a superb way to run a business. Are they buyers? Are they sellers? After trading the team’s starting catcher and then picking up a new starting first baseman, Chaim Bloom says why choose just one?

An objective observer would have trouble faulting management for wanting to sell after seeing how dreadful the Sox have performed in recent weeks. After lighting the world on fire in June, the Sox had a catastrophic July dropping them into last place in the AL East. It wasn’t until the final day of the month that a Red Sox starting pitcher earned a win. That is not a typo. Not to mention, they still have yet to win a series against the AL East. Sitting at 53-53 and in last place, this doesn’t seem like a squad destined for October greatness.

On the other hand, this is the goddamn Boston Red Sox. This is a franchise that realistically shouldn’t ever be in the position of selling. It is laughable that a team with the resources of the Red Sox has so frequently hit rock bottom over the last 10+ years. They are 3 games out of the final wild card spot with 56 games left to play, there is zero excuse for a team with a $200M+ payroll to not at least try to make the playoffs. This isn’t the NBA where you have an outside shot at the top pick in the draft by missing the playoffs. Sure you aren’t going to trade away top prospects to bring in rental players to support a team you don’t believe in, but it is hard to fathom punting on the season.

Chaim Bloom argues the Red Sox are in just as good of a position to make the playoffs as they were last week, which isn’t exactly a confidence inspiring comment for a GM to make after a trade deadline.

Let’s recap what the Sox actually did over the last few days to reconstruct their roster.

Traded Christian Vazquez

There’s really no way to defend a major market team trading its starting catcher without any legitimate backup options or young player waiting in the wings. Now obviously the team wasn’t planning on resigning Vazquez so Bloom figured he would maximize the asset and get some prospects for him while he still could. It makes sense in a longer term view, but it hands down hurts this year’s team to trade away your starting catcher who’s having his best season in years. The Sox received two minor league prospects in return, but the move also had its team leader openly questioning the direction of the franchise.

Traded for Eric Hosmer

In a vacuum this is a good move, it legitimately makes the team better, but thats because the Boston Red Sox went the better part of two years without rostering an actual big league first baseman. I was starting to genuinely feel bad for Franchy Cordero after the three error game the other day so it will be nice to have a guy who actually has “1B” written on his trading card finally manning the position again.

It’s important to point out that the Sox only made this move because it fell into their lap though. They only made this move because they got Hosmer for literal pennies on the dollar. Why not make this move in May when it was clear Bobby Dalbec and co. were not cutting it at first base? Because then the move would have cost something. I heard Lou Merloni summarize it aptly saying Bloom is great at taking advantage of other team’s desperation (the Padres had to dump Hosmer after the Soto trade chaos), but has yet to really show a knack for preemptively identifying and targeting big league talent.

To top it off, rather than take on more of Hosmer’s contract to help the Padres shed salary and in return pick up higher rated prospects (as most big market teams do), instead the Sox opted to take on the bare minimum amount of Hosmer’s salary.

If I were an accountant, that would have me running out of the tunnel like Tom Brady shouting obscenities. But I’m not, so I don’t really care that the Sox got a guy for cheap UNLESS they use that money to pay some of their own upcoming free agents. Now the trade off for taking on such little salary is that the Sox instead picked up a couple of lower level prospects AND had to attach their No. 11 ranked prospect in Jay Groome. That move really is the one that set me off. If you want to sell then fine go ahead and sell, but don’t half ass it.

Chaim Bloom can trade everyone on the team to acquire more and more and more lottery ticket prospects so he can continue to play Franchise Mode on his computer. But to then turn around and start dumping your own top prospects just to save money? That should make fans lose their minds. So now the Boston Red Sox, who seemingly want to rebuild the farm system with as many prospects as possible, are sending former first round picks out the door to save a few million dollars.

As Big Z so perfectly put it, “Classic Moneyball move by one of the richest teams in North America.”

Traded Jake Diekman for Reese McGuire

I cry no tears for Diekman, who was a high wire act in the truest sense of the term. He was Bloom’s highest price bullpen offseason addition though so that’s an L for Chaim. As for McGuire, the internet and talk radio has already shredded this guy to pieces for his, um, fondness for Dollar Store parking lots so I’ll just post my joke and move on.

Traded for Tommy Pham

The Sox added Pham for almost literally nothing as they gave the Reds the illustrious “player to be named later or cash considerations” in exchange. Pham has some pop with 11 home runs this year, but is only hitting .238 so not a massive upgrade. He is however the guy that punched Joc Pederson in the face over a fantasy football dispute so he definitely has a bit of an edge!

Released Jackie Bradley Jr.

I was honestly surprised to hear this news today because it seemed like the Sox were so smitten with his defense that JBJ would be penciled into the lineup until someone ripped the lineup card out of Alex Cora’s hands. Let us never forget the otherworldly performance Bradley had in the 2018 ALCS when he picked up MVP honors, but he was a streaky player who’s hot streaks were becoming shorter and further apart every day. He was batting .210 with a negative WAR so while he was a joy to watch in the outfield, a championship caliber team needs more out of an everyday outfielder.

So did this team get better? Did it get worse? Who knows, it kind of seems like a shell game of asset management at this point, but it’s hard to say winning this year was a priority of ownership. The Sox probably weren’t going to win the World Series this year, but nobody expected them to reach the ALCS last year either. My concern is on the direction of the franchise and the overall plan to make this team better. God help me if this team lets Xander Bogaerts walk and/or trades Rafael Devers because I can only handle the Tampa Bay Red Sox blueprint for so long.

If you gave him some truth serum and asked Chaim Bloom when he thinks the Red Sox will contend for a World Series, I imagine his answer would sound something like Cal from the 40 Year Old Virgin.

To be fair, if Bloom and his legion of prospects win a championship down the road then fine, but don’t just punt on this year because you have your eyes on four years from now. You run the Boston Red Sox, don’t be afraid to act like a big market bully once in a while.

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