Chaim Bloom hasn’t made any big moves this offseason, building the Red Sox with an eye toward the future. Elise Amendola/Associated Press

Finally, the Red Sox made some moves to fill some holes and provide a little clarity on what the 2021 team will look like.

One logical conclusion so far: Chaim Bloom stole a page out of Ben Cherington’s playbook.

The last time the Red Sox were coming off their worst season since 1965 was in 2013, just after the 2012 Bobby Valentine-led team won 69 games and desperately needed a makeover.

Then, like now, the Sox fired their manager and brought back a familiar face, former pitching coach John Farrell, to take over in the dugout. This time, they replaced Ron Roenicke with Alex Cora.

And then, like now, the Sox were wildly unsure of what to expect from their roster.

They knew the 2012 team underperformed, just as they think the 2020 Sox did. They had big names (Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz and John Lackey) coming off injury-shortened seasons. This year’s team, does too (Chris Sale, Andrew Benintendi and Eduardo Rodriguez).


Cherington approached 2013 with cautious optimism.

He signed a handful of veterans with something to prove, most of them on one- or two-year deals, with Shane Victorino’s three-year pact the longest of the offseason.

If it didn’t work, the Red Sox could’ve reset after the 2013 season with minimal commitments to the 2014 roster and a chance to try again, perhaps tear it down and start a rebuild.

It was a relatively low-risk method of roster building, and it worked out better than Cherington could’ve expected, with the Sox bringing home their third World Series title in 11 years.

Bloom has taken a similarly cautious approach, one that at first appeared like a total rebuild but is starting to reveal itself as more of a Cherington-esque desire to try just a little, without long-term commitments.

“We certainly want to compete as much as we can in 2021, and we believe very strongly that the talent on this club is much better than what our record was last summer,” Bloom said last week. “But we also recognize that that’s not a good enough goal for this organization. The goal should be to be in position to compete for a world championship every single year, and that’s something, obviously last summer we showed we’re not there.


“And if we’re going to get there, that’s going to mean having a long-term focus as well. The moves that we’ve tried to make this winter, as much as possible, we’ve tried to have them accomplish both goals.”

Unless there’s a bold move still to come, the roster is clearly defined at this point.

The Sox will hope for big bounce-backs from their injured players. But Sale already had a setback in his recovery from Tommy John surgery, Bloom confirmed on Thursday. Originally expected back in May, it’s fair to wonder if that’s an optimistic timetable.

Benintendi struggled in his brief time on the field in 2020 and will return from a rib cage injury that ended his season early. Rodriguez picked up a dangerous COVID-19-related heart condition, myocarditis, that will require detailed monitoring.

Every Bloom signing but one, Kike Hernandez, has been just a one-year commitment. Same goes for recent trade acquisition Adam Ottavino, who has one year left on his deal.

Garrett Richards was the boldest of the gambles.


The 32-year-old right-hander has one of the game’s best spin rates and premium velocity to go along with it. But he’s just two years removed from Tommy John surgery and has been the model of inconsistency throughout his career, similar to fellow Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi.

Richards’ deal is for one year and $10 million. And there’s an option for 2022, another staple in Bloom’s deals so far. The Sox seem largely uninterested in any contract that doesn’t have a chance at producing surplus value in the future.

The contracts of all three starting pitchers signed this winter, Richards, Martin Perez and Matt Andriese, all come with affordable options for 2022.

Outfielder Hunter Renfroe signed only a one-year deal, but he will be arbitration-eligible in ’22 and ’23, giving the Sox a chance at keeping him under control for at least three years.

If none of this winter’s acquisitions work out, Bloom will have cost the Red Sox an additional $35 million, give or take, to give his club a chance at competing in 2021 with minimal commitment to 2022 and beyond.

Without spending the $35 million, this team was surely stuck in no-man’s land. At least now, the Sox look like an 88-win club with a coin-flip’s chance at the postseason.

It worked for Cherington.

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