Ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline, the Red Sox had a couple of different paths they could take. They could add to a team that was only 2.5 games out of a Wild Card spot, they could punt on the year and trade their veterans for contracts, or a bit of both.
They could also do nothing, and that’s essentially the route Chaim Bloom ended up going. He sold low on Enrique Hernandez to the Dodgers, bought low on struggling infielder Luis Urias, and that was pretty much it.
He did not address the starting rotation, which has only had three healthy starters for over a month now. He did not reinforce the bullpen, which has been getting taxed by injuries to the rotation. And he still did not find a quality solution to the club’s dreadful middle infield situation, which has been a dumpster fire since Opening Day.
Instead, he worked around the edges, as he so often likes to do, and once again missed a major chance to either upgrade the current roster or acquire more assets for the future.
Red Sox Trade Deadline Recap
Unfortunately for Boston, underwhelming trade deadlines have been a recurring theme under Bloom. He performed well in his first one back in 2020, when the Red Sox were clearly a mess and had no hope of making the playoffs, so he sold what he could.
In 2021, however, the script flipped. Boston had the best record in the American League for much of the first half and entered the trade deadline as clear buyers. The team needed a first baseman (Anthony Rizzo was a priority) and pitching help. Bloom gave them an injured DH/outfielder (Kyle Schwarber) and a pair of second-tier relievers. The Sox ultimately ran out of gas against the Astros in the ALCS, but perhaps could have gone further if Bloom had gotten them more help.
Last year was a true debacle. Boston suffered a wave of injuries in July and was clearly fading at the deadline, putting Bloom in a good position to sell. Instead, he held onto nearly all of his most valuable trade chips, including Xander Bogaerts, Nathan Eovaldi, J.D. Martinez, Rich Hill and Michael Wacha. For a guy who’s been so focused on building up the farm system since he got here in 2019, he passed on a potentially epic prospect haul. Instead, ownership paid the luxury tax to finish in last place in the AL East and all those veterans departed in free agency, essentially leaving for nothing.
This year, Bloom faced a similar choice. He could either commit to the 2023 team and add pieces for a postseason push, or sell off guys like James Paxton, Alex Verdugo and Justin Turner to improve the club’s chances for 2024. Bloom, as mentioned, did neither, not wanting to part with precious prospects or wave the white flag during a playoff race.
Boston does have a number of players returning from injury soon, namely Trevor Story, Chris Sale, Garrett Whitlock and Tanner Houck. By then, however, it could be too late. The Red Sox needed to do something at the deadline, either to better the team now or later, but instead we got a whole lot of nothing.
Making the playoffs just got a lot harder for Boston. I certainly wouldn’t bet on it.