John Tomase

There's no way Alex Cora intended to call out Bloom, and here's why

John Tomase isn't buying that Alex Cora was putting his boss on notice.

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Shots fired! He called him out! Alex Cora is mad as hell, and he's not taking it anymore!

I love a good take as much as anyone, but I don't believe for a second that the Red Sox manager suddenly decided he's had enough of Chaim Bloom's misplaced priorities, leaving him no choice but to lash out publicly.

This became newsworthy over the last 24 hours because of a MassLive story on Bloom feeling better about today's club than he did at this time last year. The author, Chris Cotillo, conducted a lengthy one-on-one with Bloom, but also included Cora's comments from a pregame availability right before the All-Star break, and those caught everyone's attention.

"We're in a good place," Cora told the assembled media a week and a half ago. "But at the end of the day, the place that we like is to play in October. It's not about how many prospects you have or where your farm system is. It might be No. 1 or 30th or whatever. The one that really counts is how many games you win in October and how many games you play in October. That's what we're shooting for."

Whoa! Everyone knows how much Bloom prioritizes the farm system, so for Cora to bluntly challenge the importance of the rankings can only be interpreted as a direct shot at his boss, right?

Sorry, but that's not Cora's style. It just doesn't pass the smell test.

For one, he said it when the Red Sox were on a roll, having won seven of eight with one game left before the break (they'd win that one, too). Cora, unsurprisingly, tends to be relaxed when the team is winning and playing good baseball. That's not a time to settle scores.

For another, he spoke pregame, when he's typically measured. His most frustrated comments almost always come postgame, which is when he uttered, "the roster is the roster," for instance, after an error-laden loss to the Rays in June.

Now if you want to call that one a subtle shot at Bloom's front office for leaving him without a capable shortstop, no argument here. Cora is not above the occasional swipe, and it's fair to say underwhelming trade deadlines have left him frustrated, too.

But this comment is different. It's so explicit that if Cora intended to put pressure on Bloom, he surely knew it didn't work, because no one even noticed that he had said it for 10 days. If Cora wanted to put his chief baseball officer on blast, he probably would've, you know, tried again.

So this comment tells me two things. One is that Cora believes this year's club is good enough to make it a priority over simply maintaining the farm system, which wasn't the case last year. But more importantly, it suggests that Cora and Bloom have already discussed the trade deadline and are on the same page, meaning the team Cora cares about most -- the 2023 Red Sox -- will get the help it needs.

That is almost certainly a starting pitcher, even if it's just someone for the back of the rotation, and probably another bullpen arm, too. Depending on how well Trevor Story takes to his rehab assignment, it could mean middle infield help, as well.

Marcelo Mayer remains untouchable, along with probably everyone else in the organization's top 10, from Ceddanne Rafaela to Nick Yorke to Roman Anthony. But that 11-20 range could be fertile ground to find a trade partner, especially as the system continues adding depth. And that's not even counting the players who could be dealt off the big-league roster, like outfielder Adam Duvall, who has been made redundant by the emergence of Jarren Duran.

The point is, the Red Sox have put themselves in a position to add by Aug. 1, and everyone knows it. For Cora to pick the most positive time of the year to blithely take shots at Bloom defies logic, and that's why I'm not buying it.

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