A conversation with Haim Blum about the state of the Red Sox ahead of a pivotal off-season event

“Winning here is very special,” Bloom said at the time. “What an incredible experience.”

A year later, the Sox has been last in the American Eastern League since late July, and Bloom’s ability to build a team is questioned after being praised once.

Bloom recently sat down for a one-on-one interview in Fenway Park. Here are his thoughts on the state of the team heading towards what is certain to be out of season. Some answers have been edited slightly for clarity.

Haim Blum sits with Sam Kennedy (right) during the Red Sox’s victory over the Orioles on Thursday.John Tlumaki / Globe Staff

A year ago I can’t imagine you would have thought the team would be what it is today.

“Especially in the Middle East, you know it’s never going to be easy. You know that in this division, in baseball, you can think that you have things arranged in one direction and it doesn’t always go the way you hoped.

“But none of us thought we’d play games that wouldn’t affect the standings.”

What do you think was a reasonable expectation coming this season?

“The way I looked, there are teams that make post-season at different levels. But the way baseball works, if you can get in, you can win it. If you go in from AL East, you can definitely win it. That is the toughest division out there.

“We were totally hoping and expecting to be in the post-season.”

Is one off-season enough to fix all the problems this team seems to have?

“The short answer is yes. As far as the roster is concerned, there will definitely be time. Every off season is always pivotal. Sometimes you don’t feel that way when it happens, but you look back and it was. You have to attack every season because it’s your most important one. .

“We definitely have a lot of items on our roster with the roster that we need to take care of off-season. Hopefully we can find a way to tackle them all in a way that brings us back to the post-season phase next year.

“Not every problem is solved by writing a check or making a deal. A lot of it comes from within. Some are men you expect and some are men you don’t.”

You have crossed the luxury tax threshold and will finish last. How could that happen?

“We know how it happened and we knew when we made the decisions we made on the trade deadline [not to trade Nate Eovaldi or J.D. Martinez] That there is a possibility that it will go that way.

“In hindsight, sitting here and looking at that, it’s clearly something we want to change. Like I said at the time, we felt lucky to have the support [from ownership] To be able to prioritize trying to achieve my goals of staying in the race and improving the organization without prioritizing the luxury tax.”

Will Garrett Whitlock be a starting or assisting player next season?

Garrett Whitlock (right) celebrates his August 26 victory over Rice with catcher Kevin Blawicki.Barry Chen / Globe Staff

“I am not ready to break the news on this front. I think we are fortunate to have someone who can influence the club wherever I put him.

“I’ll say I think it’s just because of the situation our driver was in and the situation he was in physically, I think there’s this perception that it didn’t work at first. But when you really peel off the layers and look at what he did, it was really impressive. Especially having to [move into the rotation] On the fly “.

How do you handle building a better base? Because no single scheme always works.

“This is something that, as you can imagine, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this summer. We’ll look at every option we have. Since we have the flexibility that we have financially, we may be able to use that in certain ways to help our office.”

“But I think in today’s game it’s not possible to have a really good job all season without getting contributions from unexpected places and contributions from within.

“We’ve been able to do this on a smaller scale with Garrett and [John] Schreiber. We need to be able to do that more. This should be part of what we do with tweaks. We spent a lot of time talking about it.”

“Alex [Cora] And I’ve talked a lot about the situations that we put them in and we put them in positions of success. How can these people be helped to maximize their potential and put them in a position to succeed. That’s really what you need to do to get a really good, deep base.”

How did you manage to ride the roller coaster from fans who felt positive about your job performance last year, and now many of them are critical?

“It’s all part of the experience. Look, we haven’t played well this year. When that happens and you’re in the chair I’m in, you’re going to get criticized. It’s well deserved. We haven’t played well.

“I will say this: I think I got to know our fans better this year than any of my years here. Some of that is just the state of the world at this point. I’ve had a lot of interactions and have really enjoyed our fans.

“I have great conversations with some of the people I talk to. They are so excited. They are locked in. They care about this team. They understand what we have been trying to do in the last few years. They are with us in this. We have to give them the results they deserve.”

In addition to this season’s record numbers, how do you feel about the organization’s long-term prospects?

“It’s hard to see when you’re staring at the record we have now. But I think we’re on the right track to do what we decided to do. But we still have a lot of work to do.

“In some areas we have accomplished and learned some things and we are just scratching the surface of how good we are. That excites me more. There are some things that happen in the organization that would make us move better.”

“We have greatly improved our farm system. We need to support it with success on the ground at the big league level. But, overall, we have a lot of work to do but we are on the right track to get where we want to go.”

There is a lot of interest on Xander [Bogaerts] Ravi [Devers]. Two different situations but two important players. How many stops on them this holiday season?

Certainly this would be the perception. Emotionally we will definitely feel it. Zander comes here every day, wears his uniform, and does everything he can to help us win. I understand the value of that.

“He’s a special person who put on a show in Boston. You appreciate the players with that ability. Our relationship with him hasn’t changed. I think he appreciates what he’s done here and his place in the team. We do that too.”

Xander Bogarts (left) could withdraw from his contract after this season. Raphael Devers after next season.Greg Fayoum/Getty Images

When I trade Mookie [Betts] In 2020, you said you wanted the organization to get to a point where they could keep a star or trade a single player. Are you in terms of devers?

“The situations are unique. But we are in a different position than we were then. We had more players under long-term commitments than we have now. I can’t say what will happen with Ravi now. But we are now a different organization and our young talent base is broader. I feel We’ve made progress.

“But every player has the right to make choices. It has to be good for the player and the team. We are in a position to make this deal, if we can.”

As someone who was in this department before you came to Sox, what has changed in your impression of Boston?

“It’s better than I thought it would be. I appreciate it more now with it being at home. I think it’s probably the best personal baseball experience in the country. I haven’t been to enough places to tell the world, but I’m having it anywhere. It’s special.”

“The energy here, through thick and thin, is really unique. You think about it, there is not once during the game we urge our fans to do anything. They do it themselves. It is very rare. It is very energizing for the players and a competitive advantage for us.”

The idea of ​​sustainable competitiveness is something that the organization has been advocating for several years. Do you feel this point in the vision?

“I do. Obviously the bar is really high in the division to get to this point. You can be a good team in our division and still be last. I think that’s what happened this year. We are where we are and it shows how much we have to raise our game to be in this position.”


Peter Abraham can be reached at peter.abraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter Tweet embed.

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