The Boston Red Sox have hired Tampa Bay Rays executive Chaim Bloom as their new chief baseball officer, a person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Friday.
The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because Major League Baseball doesn’t like teams to make announcements during the World Series.
Bloom was the No. 2 to Tampa Bay general manager Erik Neander. The 36-year-old Yale graduate replaces Dave Dombrowski, who was let go less than a year after the team he built won the World Series.
The move was first reported by the New York Post.
Dombrowski was brought on in 2015 as the team stumbled to a second last-place finish in a row. The Red Sox followed with three straight AL East titles — a first in franchise history — and won a club-record 108 games last season en route to their fourth World Series championship since 2004.
But this year’s team finished 84-78 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2015 despite the highest payroll in baseball — a total of $243 million.
Among Bloom’s assignments will be getting the Red Sox under the luxury tax threshold of $208 million, which team president Sam Kennedy has called “a guidepost for our budgeting.” And the new baseball boss will have to do it while trying to sign a longterm deal with 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts, who is eligible for arbitration and expected to get a raise to about $30 million next year.
J.D. Martinez is due to earn $23.75 million next year, but he can opt out of the last three years and $62.5 million of the deal. If he does, Bloom will need to replace the slugger who delivered 79 homers and 235 RBIs over the past two seasons.
The Red Sox will clear more than $56 million with the expected departures of Rick Porcello, Mitch Moreland, Steve Pearce and Eduardo Nunez and the end of the team’s obligation to Pablo Sandoval.
Under Neander and Bloom, the Rays reached the playoffs this year with the game’s 28th payroll, $91.5 million, and only three players earning more than $5 million.