Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom has a lot of work to do this offseason. Charles Krupa/Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — There was a dense fog hanging over the bay in “America’s Finest City” on Monday morning. The murkiness hovering over the MLB winter meetings was fitting for Boston Red Sox fans trying to figure out what the 2023 team will look like.

Chaim Bloom, chief baseball officer of the Red Sox, arrived here looking to show the baseball world he means business. He entered this offseason with some $80 million available under the luxury tax threshold and plenty of holes to fill.

To be fair, Bloom and General Manager Brian O’Halloran have already gotten to work with the signings of Chris Martin and Joely Rodriguez. The two will be significant upgrades to a relief corps that posted the fifth-worst ERA in all of baseball last year.

The Martin signing — two years, $17.5 million — was especially noteworthy as it signified the largest contract given to a relief pitcher in the Bloom era. It’s clear he’s prioritizing quality over quantity in the bullpen and Martin, who rarely walks batters, will be a cornerstone reliever in 2023.

A good signing, but not the big splash Red Sox fans are waiting for. Prior to these meetings there were reports that Boston made offers to slugger Jose Abreu and starter Zach Eflin. Both opted to sign elsewhere. Not the way the Red Sox wanted this offseason to begin.

As of Sunday night, the Red Sox had not scheduled a meeting with Xander Bogaerts, who was meeting with other teams on the eve of the meetings. The lack of news on Bogaerts was ratcheting up the external pressure for Bloom to get something done.


The 2023 season will mark Bloom’s fourth year at the helm of the team’s baseball operations. His two predecessors never made it to a fifth year on the job. And both Dave Dombrowski and Ben Cherington won championships.

One major signing or blockbuster trade could change the entire atmosphere surrounding this team. In 2000, Dan Duquette had to overspend to bring Manny Ramirez to town. Theo Epstein had to spend Thanksgiving in Arizona to bring Curt Schilling to Boston after the ill-fated 2003 season. Dombrowski offered up four top prospects to acquire Chris Sale prior to the 2017 season.

Each of those big names helped changed the direction of the franchise. The Ramirez signing re-established Boston as a destination for key free agents, with Johnny Damon, Bill Mueller and Keith Foulke soon to follow. Schilling and Sale represented the top-of-the-rotation arm that Boston needed to get over the top to win championships in 2004 and 2018.

This Red Sox team, and perhaps more importantly its fan base, desperately needs a similar jolt to the roster. It could be as simple as re-signing Bogaerts and locking up Rafael Devers. Or perhaps it would be a trade for outfielder Bryan Reynolds, who has reportedly asked the Pirates to trade him. Or bringing in a pitcher like Carlos Rodón to bolster the rotation.

Bloom won’t cave to, or even admit to, any outside pressure. He will continue to make moves that he thinks can bring the Sox back to the postseason. And he will do it out of the public eye, which led to the report by legendary baseball writer Peter Gammons that Bogaerts has cut off talks with the team and won’t return to Boston next season.

Team President and CEO Sam Kennedy assured me that is not the case, saying the team remains engaged with the shortstop. Hall of Famer David Ortiz, at his charity’s golf tournament in Florida this weekend, told reporters he expects Bogaerts to be in a Boston uniform next spring.


None of that will stop a determined team from swooping in and getting a deal done with Bogaerts, and fans can’t help but wonder how things got this far.

It’s the same fan base that bridled at Bloom’s trade of Mookie Betts prior to the 2020 season. Losing Bogaerts, the only remaining Red Sox position player to have played alongside Ortiz, won’t do much to quiet the uproar.

There’s plenty of time for Bloom to change the narrative. Opening Day is nearly four months away. But as the fog lifted in Southern California, Sox fans were still struggling for a glimpse of how is going to do that.

Tom Caron is a studio host for the Red Sox broadcast on NESN. He is a graduate of Lewiston High School.

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