What's the endgame for Chaim Bloom and the Boston Red Sox?
That's what many were wondering as they watched Bloom straddle the line between buying and selling ahead of Tuesday's MLB trade deadline. The Red Sox' chief baseball officer dealt starting catcher Christian Vazquez to the Houston Astros for a pair of prospects in a move that appeared to signal "sell," but then turned around and acquired outfielder Tommy Pham, catcher Reese McGuire and first baseman Eric Hosmer, who addresses one of the team's most glaring needs.
So, did Boston actually improve via its series of moves, and is this team any better-equipped to secure a wild card spot as it sputters around .500?
Red Sox manager Alex Cora was asked Thursday if he felt his team got better and gave a somewhat diplomatic response.
"I feel like our roster is in a better place, in the sense that we got options off the bench," Cora told WEEI's "Merloni, Fauria & Mego" radio show. "Like I said, in nine innings we can do a lot of things, mix and match with the opposition. That’s the way I see it. Obviously, we’ve got to get healthy. That’s the most important thing."
While Hosmer and Pham improve Boston's depth in two key areas, neither player really moves the needle. And while injured players like Kiké Hernandez and Michael Wacha could give the Red Sox a boost upon their return, the team still will be without left-hander Chris Sale and second baseman Trevor Story for most if not all of the stretch run.
In a telling sign of how the clubhouse may have reacted to Boston's moves, Bloom decided to join the Red Sox on their road trip in Houston and Kansas City to address any concerns his players may have.
"He was going to let the team know where we’re at, and the players we have. It’s not my meeting, it’s his," Cora said of Bloom's decision to join the team on the road. "But he’s going to do what he wants to do. He’s the boss, and if he feels he needs to talk to the team, I’m good with it."
Cora's Red Sox captured some late-season magic last year amid a run to the American League Championship Series, but they face a much steeper climb this year; Boston is four games out of a wild card spot after Thursday's loss and sits last in the AL East at 53-54.
No significant reinforcements are arriving, however, so Cora has no choice but to work with what he has.
"One of the things we have to do -- and we did a good job in Houston -- is, 'Hey, this who we are. This is what we have. And look at this team,'" Cora added. "We’ve got to attack the day the right way."