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Red Sox's Chaim Bloom Booed, Says Team in Better Place After Rafael Devers Contract

Adam WellsJanuary 21, 2023

BOSTON, MA - JAN 11: Boston Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Chaim Bloom speaks during a press conference announcing the contract extension of Rafael Devers #11 of the Boston Red Sox on January 11, 2023 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

The Boston Red Sox's annual Winter Weekend event kicked off on Friday, but it wasn't a festive event for members of the front office after a frustrating offseason for the team's fans.

Per Alex Speier of the Boston Globe, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom received a loud chorus of boos from the crowd in attendance that forced him to pause his speech multiple times.

Bloom also explained to the fans why the Red Sox were in a better position this year to make a long-term commitment to Rafael Devers than they were three years ago when Mookie Betts was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Red Sox fans weren't only giving Bloom a less-than-warm welcome. John Henry, principal owner of the club, didn't do himself any favors by trying to equate high ticket prices with payroll spending.

Boston Sports Gordo @BOSSportsGordo

John Henry: "What has enabled us to spend like the Yankees and the Dodgers is your support. And that comes through ticket prices."<br><br>Fans booed and then Kennedy interjected.

The frustration in Boston has been mounting since Betts was traded to the Dodgers in February 2020.

WEEI's Lou Merloni reported a few weeks before the trade went down that Betts turned down a 10-year, $300 million offer from Boston and countered with a 12-year, $420 million proposal.

The Dodgers signed Betts to a 12-year extension worth $365 million in July 2020. Boston's return in the deal was considered light at the time, and looks horrendous in hindsight considering Betts remains one of the best players in Major League Baseball.

Alex Verdugo has been an adequate outfielder in three seasons for the Red Sox. Jeter Downs didn't make his MLB debut until last season, hitting .154/.171/.256 in 14 games. The 24-year-old hit under .200 in each of the past two seasons in Triple-A and was claimed off waivers by the Washington Nationals in December.

Connor Wong has only appeared in 33 MLB games over the past two seasons. He owns a .213/.290/.361 slash line with one homer in 61 at-bats.

Adding to the anger from Red Sox fans has been the team's lack of activity in trades and free agency. They did sign Trevor Story to a six-year, $140 million deal last offseason, but he was coming off an uninspiring .251/.329/.471 slash line in 2021 with the Colorado Rockies.

Other than Story's deal, the richest free-agent contract the Red Sox gave out in the previous two years was Enrique Hernández's two-year, $14 million deal in February 2021.

Story, who only played in 94 games last season, could miss four to six months after undergoing UCL surgery earlier this month.

Red Sox Nation saw another star leave this offseason when Xander Bogaerts signed an 11-year contract with the San Diego Padres in free agency. They did give Japanese superstar Masataka Yoshida a five-year, $90 million deal in December.

Devers' extension was the first sign of hope in years that this front office was willing to pay up to keep a homegrown superstar.

The overall talent level on the Red Sox's roster doesn't look like a strong playoff contender on paper. Things can change if players like Yoshida, Justin Turner, Chris Sale and Corey Kluber play at their peak in 2023.