Chaim Bloom spoke for more than a half hour about the MLB trade deadline Wednesday and predictably didn't say much, except to reiterate that the team has no plans to trade Xander Bogaerts or Rafael Devers. It's close-to-the-vest season. No one wants to show their cards.
But tucked among answers about the disappointing standings and his hopes yet to contend this fall was something actually revealing.
Asked if he'd let possible fan or clubhouse reaction dissuade him from making a trade that he believed made baseball sense, Bloom didn't hesitate. The answer is no.
The response was telling not just for its content, but its lack of ambiguity. Bloom is a "yes and no" guy by nature, and rare is the answer that leaves no wiggle room. But on this matter, he did not equivocate.
"In the big picture, we're trying to give our fans exactly what they want; this is a winning product, something they can be proud of every year and try to give them championships," he said. "We're not necessarily going to do that by giving them what they want in the moment if we did a fan poll about every move.
"So when it comes to those specific moves, I don't think we can worry about that, as long as we feel in our heart of hearts that we're doing the right thing to deliver what we ultimately owe our fans and what they want, which is a championship-caliber product on an annual basis."
This is relevant in advance of Tuesday's trade deadline for obvious reasons. The Red Sox could yet decide to sell, and even if the paying customers are breathing a sigh of relief over Bloom and CEO Sam Kennedy effectively saying that Bogaerts and Devers aren't going anywhere, they're still not going to like a deal that sends out an All-Star like DH J.D. Martinez or right-hander Nathan Eovaldi.
But it's pretty clear Bloom won't hesitate to consummate such a trade if he likes the return, even if it risks upsetting his clubhouse.
"I do care about how the clubhouse feels," he said. "If we believe a move is right, and we think it might not go over well in the clubhouse, in my opinion we still have to make it. We just have to be aware of what that reaction is going to be.
"These guys, they're busting ass every night to try to win games. If something is not going to sit well with them, we and especially I -- as kind of the face of it -- owe it to them to be present and be accountable for it, to lay groundwork if we need, and just to be able to explain it like we would anybody who has skin in the game."
The flip side of that equation, of course, is making no move at all. Some corners of the clubhouse felt abandoned last year when the Red Sox didn't blow doors at the deadline, acquiring an injured Kyle Schwarber and nondescript relievers Hansel Robles and Austin Davis. Schwarber, in particular, and also Robles ended up playing pivotal roles in the team's run to the American League Championship Series.
If Bloom doesn't see a move he likes, he's willing to stand pat, too.
"I would rather have the letdown and try to deal with the letdown than do something that I didn't believe in, that I didn't think was going to make us better, that was good for the organization, just to avoid that," he said. "Because ultimately, that's going to catch up to you. The optics only gets you so far. Eventually the substance is what matters."
Substance is what Bloom will be judged on, and it's best for the long-term health of the organization that he's not going to let the optics get in the way.