BOSTON — Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said Wednesday that the team hasn’t discussed trading All-Stars Xander Bogaerts or Rafael Devers at the deadline, and “we’re not planning to discuss them with anybody.”
Bloom told reporters before the game against Cleveland that he still thinks the Red Sox, who entered the night 3½ games back in the AL wild-card race, can grab a postseason berth. But that could change if they continue a slide in which they’ve lost 14 of their past 18 games and fallen into last place in the division.
“We would be silly to try to pretend that that scoreboard doesn’t exist,” he said in the home dugout at Fenway Park, looking out at the scoreboard that showed the Red Sox in last place in the AL East.
“We’re not too happy with how it looks right now. We have to factor that in,” Bloom said. “Every game moves that needle one way or another. It doesn’t change how we feel about the talent on the club, but it does change our situation.”
One year after Boston came within two wins of the World Series, the team has stumbled to a .500 record thanks in part to injuries that left the Red Sox plugging as much as half of their lineup with minor leaguers. But despite dropping into fifth in the AL East, they are still in the race for a playoff berth.
“I understand normally you wouldn’t be sitting here in last place and saying that. It is a really unique year in our division,” said Bloom, whose team has not won a series against a division opponent all season. “Part of it is that we are in a really good division, but that’s no excuse. We have to be honest. If we don’t reverse that, we’re not going to get where we want to go.”
Complicating things is the status of Bogaerts and Devers, two young stars who could be the cornerstones of the ballclub for a decade — if they re-sign. Bogaerts, 29, can opt out of his contract after this season, and the 25-year-old Devers is eligible to be a free agent after next season.
Designated hitter J.D. Martinez is in the last year of his contract — another player who would be attractive to a team looking to make a playoff push in 2022. Could they go the way of 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts, who was traded away in his free agency year as Bloom’s first big move in Boston?
While repeating that the team wasn’t “planning” to discuss trades for the two infielders, Bloom also said, “The best thing I can say is we’re not doing our jobs if we’re not considering all possibilities.”
Bloom said he still likes the talent on the club — when healthy — and conceded that the depth has not delivered the way he had hoped. Prospects like pitcher Brayan Bello, infielder Jeter Downs, outfielder Jarren Duran and first basemen Franchy Cordero and Bobby Dalbec — some of them rushed to the majors to plug holes — have all struggled at the plate or in the field or both.
Bloom preached patience on the young players and lamented the injuries that have included Devers along with ace Chris Sale, center fielder Kiké Hernandez and second baseman Trevor Story.
“Obviously, we haven’t played well lately. We’ve been banged up and we haven’t been playing well,” Bloom said. “I do think we have a good team. I think we have a very talented team. It’s not a perfect club, no question. And you know, at times we haven’t played as well as we could at times. … But I’d stack our talent up against just about any team in the league.”