BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Red Sox fired Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom on Thursday as the team stumbled toward a third last-place finish in four seasons.
The team made the announcement before the start of a doubleheader against the New York Yankees, who took the first two games of the series to drop Boston into a tie for last.
“The decision was not made lightly or easily,” President & CEO Sam Kennedy read from a prepared statement before his press conference. “We all know where we are in the standings. It’s a painful reality that fans feel as deeply as we do. Our fans deserve a winning, competitive team that consistently plays postseason baseball.”
Manager Alex Cora said he got a call from ownership in the morning telling him about the move. He said he was planning next year’s team with Bloom on Wednesday.
“We actually had a great conversation about the future of the organization and what he envisioned,” Cora said after the Red Sox beat the Yankees 5-0 in the opener of a split doubleheader. “There were a few things that he felt we needed to do better as a coaching staff. We were talking about the kids and what we wanted to accomplish the last few weeks.”
Red Sox infielder Justin Turner was caught off guard by the move.
“That was certainly a surprise to everyone this morning,” he said. “I did not see that coming. I have not experienced that in my career.”
Bloom was hired from the Tampa Bay Rays to help revive the farm system and bring financial stability to a team that was one of baseball’s biggest spenders. One of his first moves was to trade 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts, a year before he was eligible for free agency, on a mandate from ownership to get the payroll in order.
But the return for Betts was unspectacular — outfielder Alex Verdugo and some prospects that have not panned out — and other moves have failed to yield results at the major league level. Bloom also watched shortstop Xander Bogaerts, whom the organization developed into a four-time All-Star, depart as a free agent.
“I think we’ve always been consistent, trying to build, build that farm system, but win at the major league level has always been a priority,” Kennedy said. “Obviously, the past two seasons we haven’t been there and the change was made.”
This season, the Red Sox appeared to be holding onto young talent instead of making moves at the trade deadline to help their playoff push.
“I believe we were doing everything possible to win,” Cora said. “We were in a spot that we were thinking about the present and thinking about the future — and that’s not easy to do.”
Entering Thursday’s doubleheader, the Red Sox were 267-262 in Bloom’s tenure, with a trip to the AL Championship Series in 2021.
“It’s hard to say it’s not related to results because that’s what this is all about,” Kennedy said. “We’re aiming for World Series championships. That’s it. That’s the aim, that’s the goal. We’re here to win World Series championships. While we’re here, we’re not going to waste this opportunity. That’s what the Boston Red Sox are all about.”
Kennedy said Bloom was informed of the decision by owner John Henry, Chairman Tom Werner and himself Thursday morning.
The team said general manager Brian O’Halloran “has been offered a new senior leadership position within the baseball operations department.”
O’Halloran will run the department in the interim, along with assistant general managers Eddie Romero, Raquel Ferreira and Michael Groopman.
After going 86 years without a World Series championship, the Red Sox have won four since 2004, the most for anyone this century.
But they’ve done it with three different baseball bosses — Theo Epstein (2004, ’07), Ben Cherington (’13) and Dave Dombrowski (’18) — and five different managers over that span as the team rode a roller coaster that has also seen it finish last in the AL East five times since 2012.
“We expected a team that would be in this thing, a postseason contender and unfortunately we all know we feel short of that,” Kennedy said. “We are in the results business. Results, ultimately, always matter.”
Epstein is not a candidate to return, Kennedy said.
AP Freelancer Ken Powtak contributed to this story.