MLB: Rating the front offices of the AL East

WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - MARCH 12: New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman talks on the phone prior to a Grapefruit League spring training game between the Washington Nationals and the New York Yankees at FITTEAM Ballpark of The Palm Beaches on March 12, 2020 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Many professional and college sports are canceling or postponing their games due to the ongoing threat of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - MARCH 12: New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman talks on the phone prior to a Grapefruit League spring training game between the Washington Nationals and the New York Yankees at FITTEAM Ballpark of The Palm Beaches on March 12, 2020 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Many professional and college sports are canceling or postponing their games due to the ongoing threat of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

Boston Red Sox

Chaim Bloom, chief baseball officer; Brian O’Halloran, general manager

+0.8

This was the first season for the Bloom-O’Halloran team in charge of Boston’s front office, and it was a turbulent one.

That the new management team was able, by season’s end, to look back on at least a modest improvement in the team’s personnel profile is an accomplishment in itself, considering that injuries and COVID combined to rob the club of its two principal pitching assets, left handers Chris Sale and David Price.

The big loss, obviously, came when the Sox decided they could no longer afford right fielder Mookie Betts, the franchise’s iconic every-day player. Betts was traded to LA, where he signed a mega deal and generated 2.9 WAA for his new team.

Had Betts done that in Boston, the lives of Bloom and O’Halloran would have been measurably easier.

How do you trade away a 2.9 WAA player and still emerge at least moderately to the good? Bloom and O’Halloran did it by making a frenetic 42 personnel moves since the end of the 2019 season that impacted their team’s 2020 fortunes. The values of 25 of those 42 moves favored the Red Sox, although most by inconsequential margins. But they added up.

By far the biggest positive impact was the arrival of Alex Verdugo in the Betts trade. Verdugo hit .308 with an .844 OPS, totals that equated to a 1.4 WAA, That didn’t make Red Sox fans forget Betts, but it was a decent offset.

Re-signing Xander Bogaerts to a seven-year, $140 million deal through 2026 also helped; Bogaerts added +0.9 value.

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The arrival of pitcher Tanner Houck, a rookie obtained by the prior administration in a trade and nursed through the team’s system, also helped. Houck was 3-0 with a 0.53 ERA in three starts for Boston. That measured out to a 1.1 WAA.