Chaim Bloom

Will Red Sox buy or sell at trade deadline? It depends, Bloom says

Boston finds itself in an eerily familiar position as the 2023 trade deadline approaches.

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The Boston Red Sox are 48-43 on July 14 and face a crossroads with the Aug. 1 MLB trade deadline fast approaching.

Sound familiar?

It should, because the Red Sox were in an eerily similar position a year ago: Boston had an identical 48-43 record on July 15 of its 2022 season, leaving chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom to decide whether his team should buy or sell at the MLB trade deadline.

We all know what happened next: The Red Sox lost nine of their next 11, Bloom tried to thread the needle by trading Christian Vazquez but keeping his veterans on expiring contracts (Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez and Nathan Eovaldi), and the team sputtered to a 78-84 finish.

Will this season be different? Will Bloom commit to a clear strategy of loading up for a playoff push or selling his top trade assets? The Red Sox exec says the next two weeks will determine Boston's course of action.

"How we do in these weeks leading up to the deadline could really move the needle one way or the other as to what our odds are of getting to the postseason. That’s just a fact," Bloom said Thursday, via Mass Live's Chris Cotillo. "Obviously, these games are very critical and it’d be unreasonable not to factor that in and respond accordingly."

The Red Sox have momentum on their side; they won five straight and eight of nine entering the MLB All-Star break, and their next three series are against teams below .500 in the Chicago Cubs, Oakland Athletics and New York Mets. While they remain in the American League East basement, they're just two games out of a wild card spot and could vault the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees and Houston Astros with a strong two-week stretch.

There's no benefit to Bloom tipping his hand this early, and with the Red Sox right on the edge of contention, it makes sense why he'd want to wait until the end of July before making any moves. But even if Boston enters buy mode, it doesn't sound like Bloom is willing to sell the farm for short-term rentals.

"Our faith in young players, our faith in our core, the accomplishments of that group... that has really been, to me, the headline of this first half,” Bloom said. "It has not only given us a chance to stay in this race in 2023, but I think has made us ... really optimistic about where this is headed longer-term. We can’t get away from that. We can’t stop focusing on that because that is ultimately the backbone of a championship-caliber club."

Bloom has maintained a focus on the future throughout his four-year tenure in Boston, restocking the team's farm system with young talent like Marcelo Mayer and Nick Yorke. The Red Sox have yet to part with an elite prospect since Bloom took over, and unless the perfect trade target becomes available, it's hard to see that changing in 2023.

Boston is in a dangerous middle ground, however, and must avoid the hybrid deadline approach that yielded underwhelming results last summer.

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