In a few days, once the World Series comes to pass, the Tampa Bay Rays interesting offseason plans will begin to take shape — we’ll have more on that starting next week. Unfortunately for a front office tasked with adding to the young core of players which won 96 games in 2019, the Rays will likely be without VP of baseball operations Chaim Bloom, who will be coronated as Boston’s head of baseball operations.
Bloom interviewed for the Red Sox GM opening, according to Chad Jennings and Ken Rosenthal (both of The Athletic). Jennings noted the process “seems to be coming to an end,” while Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times) added, “Bloom is “likely” to be hired by the Red Sox.”
Bloom, 36, had been in the mix for several high-profile executive jobs in recent years, most notably he was the runner-up to Brodie Van Wagenen in the Mets search for a new GM last season. The Twins and Phillies were also said to have considered Bloom for a GM role in recent years.
Bloom is a front office veteran with 15+ seasons of experience in the Rays front office. After starting his career as an intern in 2005, Bloom was promoted to the role of VP of baseball operations in 2014, with a “senior” title being attached to that role in 2016 when the club also promoted Erik Neander to GM.
Bloom doesn’t just have intimate knowledge of the Rays front office, he’s added his own ingredients to their secret sauce over the years. He now will bring some of those cutting edge concepts to Boston, one of the Tampa Bay’s fiercest opponents.
Even so, the Rays should be able to absorb his departure.
Based on the talent on the roster, as well as the clubhouse culture that’s been cultivated, there’s more than enough evidence that Tampa Bay will still be a threat in the American League for the foreseeable future. The problem is whether that will be enough with a Boston franchise that’s about to get a serious boost in Bloom.
Kevin Cash and Erik Neander are the recipients of a pair of awards
Speaking of the front office, Kevin Cash was honored as one of Sporting News’ award recipients, naming the Rays skipper American League Manager of the Year. Meanwhile, Erik Neander was named MLB Executive of the Year by the same publication. Cash and Neander were tasked with a roster chock-full of trade acquisitions and overlooked players, and ultimately led Tampa Bay to a 96-win season and an American League Division Series berth. Cash also deserves credit for guiding through an injury-plagued campaign — just two Rays appeared in over 140 games.
The Sporting News Manager of the Year award is not to be confused with the BBWAA awards which receive more coverage and recognition.
Kevin Kiermaier is a finalist for Gold Glove award
On Thursday, centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier was named a finalist for the AL Gold Glove award for American League centerfielders. He will compete against Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mike Trout.
Kiermiaer previously won the Gold Glove twice, in 2015 and 2016.
Having a shot at winning another Gold Glove is one of the best feelings for me from a personal standpoint. I always say I feel like I can control a game from centerfield as well as anyone in the game. Being a nominee gives me a shot at winning and I hope I’m fortunate enough to win a third Gold Glove.— Kevin Kiermaier
Kiermaier appeared in 125 games this season (117 starts), and made just four errors in 260 chances, while also collecting six assists.
The SABR defensive index (SDI) has Kiermaier ranked highest of the three candidates at 6.3, with Trout at 4.4 and Bradley at -6.2. He also ranks first in defensive runs saved (DRS) with an AL most 13; Trout and Bradley were both -1.
Tampa Bay did not have any other finalists. While deserving, shortstop Willy Adames was overshadowed by Francisco Lindor, Marcus Semien, Andrelton Simmons. Adames was the top-ranked shortstop per the SDI at 9.9, with Semien following at 7.8, and Lindor at 2.9. Simmons was not ranked.