You could argue the Boston Red Sox should have seen this coming, but Wednesday night's news still hit Chaim Bloom hard, it appears.
Free-agent shortstop Xander Bogaerts reportedly agreed to an 11-year, $280 million contract with the San Diego Padres late Wednesday night. Per multiple reports, the Red Sox weren't even close to re-signing the face of their franchise -- they offered Bogaerts six years and $160 million, and three or four other teams were willing to pay him north of $200 million, according to The Boston Globe's Alex Speier and Pete Abraham.
The Globe's Julian McWilliams, who saw Bloom and several Red Sox staffers at the San Diego airport Wednesday night waiting to catch a flight home from MLB's Winter Meetings, observed a "stunned" and "shell-shocked" Bloom in the wake of the Bogaerts news.
"Give me a minute," Bloom told McWilliams on two separate occasions, at one point was "staring into space in isolation," per McWilliams.
When Bloom finally spoke, he gave diplomatic answers but clearly seemed disappointed that Boston couldn't re-sign Bogaerts.
"Everybody is sad that he’s not going to be a part of the organization," Bloom told McWilliams. "We’re incredibly grateful for him. For everything he’s accomplished here and what he helped this organization accomplish.
"We make business decisions, but that doesn’t change the emotions that come with something. And even for me, who hasn’t worked with Xander as long as a lot of people around here, they’re real."
Bloom took over as Boston's Chief Baseball Officer in late 2019 and promptly traded superstar outfielder Mookie Betts in a controversial move. But losing Bogaerts felt different; while Betts seemed determined to test the open market, Bogaerts repeatedly expressed optimism that he and the Red Sox would work something out to keep him in Boston.
"I expect fans will be hurt," Bloom added. "I fully expect that, and I also expect that we’re going to put this together and deliver them winning baseball.
"It’s gonna look a little different than it would have with Xander. But it’s going to happen and it’s on us to show them. That’s our job. Thanks for sharing."
The Red Sox did make two notable moves Wednesday by adding three-time All-Star closer Kenley Jansen and talented Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida. They also have a potential shortstop of the future in top prospect Marcelo Mayer, who could soften the blow of losing the 30-year-old Bogaerts in a few years.
Losing Bogaerts is tough pill to swallow, however, and risks further alienating fans who have little to get excited about following Boston's last-place finish in the American League East in 2022.