John Tomase

Bloom's constant search for bargains means Red Sox sign a lot of junk

Chaim Bloom's buy-low approach has produced depressingly predictable results.

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Luis Urias represents the perfect Chaim Bloom signing: a buy-low candidate with bounce-back potential, a formerly productive player under team control, and best of all, he's only hitting .145.

That number may look disqualifying, but it's practically a prerequisite for Boston's chief baseball officer.

If it feels like Bloom only adds players whose surface stats are terrible, it's because that's largely true. Even accepting that unearthing overlooked gems is part of his job description, it's damning to consider, in total, the types of players he almost always signs during the season.

The pitchers generally own ERAs above 6.00, and the hitters rarely bat over .200. We chose those two rudimentary statistics intentionally, because Bloom's Red Sox are constantly looking under the hood for signs of a productive player waiting to be unlocked, but at the expense of more obviously established talent.

The fact is, not every wounded bird can be nursed back to health, but that hasn't stopped Bloom from playing veterinarian.

Since the start of 2021, he has acquired 30 players with recent big-league experience between opening day and the trade deadline, and if they share one trait, it's miserable numbers.

Ten of the 18 pitchers owned ERAs above 6.00 in their last stops, and two more were above 5.00. These include such memorable names as Yacksel Rios (9.00 ERA with Mariners), James Norwood (8.31 ERA with Phillies), and recent reclamation project Dinelson Lamet (11.57 ERA with Rockies).

The hitting side isn't much better. Of the 12 names on that list, All-Star Kyle Schwarber is the only one who made an impact elsewhere. Otherwise, five hit below .185, and another five failed to crack .240. The only two who had done anything at the moment of the deal were Schwarber and Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer (.272), who was a bust in Boston.

Otherwise, we're talking a parade of ineffectiveness like Jaylin Davis (.111), Danny Santana (.181), Jose Peraza (.204), Bradley Zimmer (.124), and Eddy Alvarez (.160).

Sum it up, and nearly three-quarters (22 of 30) of the players Bloom has acquired were either hitting below .240 or posting an ERA above 5.00. He has little to show for that scavenging, outside of a good month of Hansel Robles, a good week of Pablo Reyes, and some useful innings from Brennan Bernardino.

Even accepting that most of the players on this list were waiver claims and therefore available for a reason, it's still instructive to consider just how small Bloom's front office continually thinks. Baseball operations trawls the ocean floor for finds while ignoring the yachts and speedboats on the surface.

It's a low-risk, low-payoff approach that guarantees the Red Sox will never trade the wrong prospect or assume wasted salary, but it also virtually precludes them from adding impact talent, with Schwarber the glaring (and successful) exception whom they immediately lost in free agency.

Maybe Urias will break the streak, since he's only a couple of years removed from a 23-homer season and battled a hamstring injury earlier this year with the Brewers. But odds are he'll just join the pile of soot that represents Bloom's fruitless search for diamonds.

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