The Boston Red Sox made another move on Sunday, but it's not one that's going to make too many fans happy. They agreed to a two-year deal with aging Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner. Yay? Given what's happened to the franchise since 2020, it's fair to say head of baseball operations Chaim Bloom isn't a popular man in Boston. Mostly because his tenure with the franchise has been an utter failure.
Bloom's three big moves this offseason have been signing aging closer Kenley Jansen to a two-year, $32 million deal, angering other executives by surrendering more than $105 million (including the posting fee) to secure Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida, and adding Turner. Oh, and his move to not re-sign All-Star shortstop and franchise cornerstone Xander Bogaerts was quite a decision too.
Since Bloom took over control of the roster in December of 2019, he has made a series of terrible decisions while watching franchise cornerstones walk away.
Bloom's first big move was trading former MVP Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers. A few months later Betts signed a 12-year, $365 million extension. We can quibble over whether or not Betts would have stayed in Boston or opted to leave in free agency, but it's clear the Red Sox got fleeced in the deal. In exchange for a six-time All-Star and one of the best players MLB has to offer (plus David Price's contract), Boston received Alex Verdugo, Connor Wong and Jeter Downs. Downs was designated for assignment last week.
Over the last three seasons in LA, Betts has been named All-MLB First-Team twice, won two Silver Slugger Awards, two Gold Gloves and led LA to a World Series title in 2020. In that time, the 30-year-old boasts an fWAR of 13.2. Meanwhile, Verdugo, Wong and Downs have a combined fWAR of 5.1. Yikes. The Red Sox gave up a legit homegrown superstar and have virtually nothing to show for it.
That alone would be brutal for any general manager. But wait, there's more.
Another homegrown player, Andrew Benintendi, was shipped out of town in a three-way deal with the Royals and Mets before the 2021 season. In exchange for their young corner outfielder, the Red Sox received Franchy Cordero, Josh Winckowski and three players to be named later (none of whom appear on the Red Sox top prospects list.
Benintendi went on to have an All-Star year for the Royals in 2021, earning a Gold Glove along the way. He was traded to the Yankees in 2022 and this offseason signed a big deal with the White Sox. In the two seasons since the Red Sox traded him, he's posted an fWAR of 4.5. Cordero posted an fWAR of -1.0, while Winckowski pitched in 15 games in 2022 (14 starts) and posted an ERA of 5.89 and an fWAR of 0.0. Cordero was non-tendered in November.
Somehow, the Red Sox managed to reach the ALCS in 2021 before getting bounced by the Houston Astros. Apparently the roster played so well, Bloom had to hamstring it some more. You know, to build character. Hunter Renfroe was coming off a career year (2.0 fWAR, 31 home runs) so Boston decided to trade him to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for Jackie Bradley Jr., David Hamilton and Alex Binelas.
Bradley lasted 91 games in Boston. He hit .210 with a .578 OPS. He was released on August 4. Hamilton and Binelas have yet to appear in the big leagues. Meanwhile, Renfroe hit 29 home runs in Milwaukee, with an OPS of .807 and an fWAR of 2.5.
Another massive mistake was not pursuing Kyle Schwarber after he helped the Red Sox mash their way to the ALCS in 2021. Schwarber hit several big home runs, and hit .291 with seven home runs, an on-base percentage of .435 and an OPS of .957 in 41 games with the team in 2021. When he declined his player option, the Red Sox should have been all over him. Instead, they let Schwarber walk and the Phillies signed him to a four-year, $79 million deal. All he did in 2022 was hit 46 home runs, earn his second All-Star selection and his first Silver Slugger Award. Pretty decent-sized miss there.
Before the 2022 season, the Red Sox needed to add something to their lineup. With Renfroe and Schwarber gone, Boston needed a bat. So they handed a six-year, $140 million deal to Trevor Story, who was coming off his worst season as a professional. The inevitable happened in Year 1 of that deal as Story notched career-lows in batting average (.238), on-base percentage (.303), slugging (.434) and OPS (.737). He also only played 94 games due to persistent injuries.
As the 2022 season was going to pot, Bloom also failed to trade DH J.D. Martinez away before the deadline. This week, Martinez walked away for nothing as the Dodgers signed him to a one-year deal.
Last but not least, there's the Bogaerts mess. The Red Sox had two years to negotiate an extension with their homegrown, All-Star shortstop. Instead of just paying to keep a franchise cornerstone, they repeated the same mistake they made with Betts. They let money get in the way of a good decision for the franchise. According to most reports, the Red Sox offered Bogaerts less money and fewer years than their competitors. Eventually the five-time Silver Slugger Award winner signed with the San Diego Padres on an 11-year, $280 million deal. If the Padres could afford that contract, so could the Red Sox.
With Bogaerts gone, the Red Sox needed to go into overdrive to find a replacement for him. But they failed to land Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson. Now a rapidly declining Story will likely take his place.
Now the Red Sox are reportedly ramping up their efforts to sign third baseman Rafael Devers to a long-term extension. We've heard that story before and it hasn't ended well. Even if they do lock up Devers, who is he going to play with? All the guys he has won with before have slowly melted away from the team.
In his three years on the job, Chaim Bloom has allowed two franchise cornerstones to walk away, while also overseeing a slew of moves that have made the Boston Red Sox worse. The team is 194-190 with two last place finishes in the AL East during his tenure. There are few, if any good arguments for not firing him immediately.
Bloom has ruined the Red Sox. It will take a massive effort to repair the damage he's done.