3 Chaim Bloom moves that helped Red Sox overcome Mookie Betts trade

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Chaim Bloom’s Red Sox tenure got off to a rocky start in 2019, but there’s more than meets the eye with this general manager.

Bloom’s hand was forced by ownership, which did not want to pay Betts an expensive extension that would have made him one of the richest players in all of baseball. So, the young GM dealt Betts out West to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for a package centered around Alex Verdugo and prospect Jeter Downs. Verdugo has since performed admirably and Downs remains the Sox No. 2 ranked prospect at 22 years of age.

Betts would sign a 12-year, $365 million contract extension with the Dodgers upon landing with Los Angeles. The extension was just the icing on top of a trade many viewed one-sided, as there’s no way to receive back adequate compensation for a player of Betts’ value.

But, it’s two years later and Bloom — at least for now — has the Red Sox in contention. Boston is in first place in the AL East at a surprising clip early in the 2021 season. So, how did Bloom overcome an early deficit? There were more than a few moves that put the Sox in a winning situation.

3 Chaim Bloom moves that helped Red Sox overcome Mookie Betts trade

Boston Red Sox reliever Adam Ottavino (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

3. Reshaping the bullpen and trading for Adam Ottavino

A trade between the Red Sox and Yankees is so rare that the deal for Ottavino was the first between the two sides since 2014. Boston took on Ottavino’s contract in a move to restructure their bullpen, and gave back virtually nothing. Thus far in 2021, Ottavino sports an ERA of 3.86, and is a critical contributor in Boston’s back end, looking more and more like his old self.

Matt Barnes, who Bloom easily could’ve given up on after a shortened 2020 campaign saw him finish with a ballooned ERA, has instead bounced back nicely with a 2.57 ERA and six saves. By no means is the Sox bullpen perfect, but they’d be far worse if Bloom wasn’t in charge — just look at the Phillies for some inspiration at what could have been.

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