While the on-field consequences of the Boston Red Sox's roster decisions dating back to the disastrous trade of Mookie Betts to the Dodgers have yet to be fully realized, the off-the-field blowback is now being acutely felt by ownership and the front office.
Friday marked the first Winter Weekend festivities for Red Sox fans since before the Betts trade of February 2020. Compounding anger over that swap of a franchise legend was the Sox's strange and ultimately self-defeating performance at last year's trade deadline, their tumble to last place in the American League East standings, and then the failure to re-sign star shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who this winter inked with the Padres. Yes, the Sox finally did something significant by signing Rafael Devers to a long-term extension, but that wasn't enough to erase the remainder of the recent past.
So it's little surprise, then, that chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, CEO Sam Kennedy, and owner John Henry felt the full-throated wrath of Red Sox Nation when they took the stage on Friday for a panel discussion. While there were some cheers for Sox brass, Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic writes that it "hardly masked the vitriol from the portion of the fan base fed up with the club, and they didn't hold back."
Here's the greeting for the trio in question, who were being accompanied on stage by manager Alex Cora:
John Henry met with tons of boos from Red Sox Nation. pic.twitter.com/1lyXVMQNFa— Chris Henrique (@ChrisHenrique) January 20, 2023
Understandably, most of the fan anger seemed to be centered around the trade of Betts, the homegrown superstar, to Los Angeles for Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs, and Connor Wong. Suffice it to say, that return package hasn't come close to justifying the decision to part with Betts, and Downs, the most highly regarded prospect involved, has already been designated for assignment by Boston. Bloom's occasionally tortured efforts at explaining the trade, as you might expect, didn't go over very well:
Chaim Bloom booed loudly when introduced at Winter Weekend. It went downhill from there. #RedSox pic.twitter.com/rRUP6bzhH0— Mark Leonard (@Kupsey17) January 21, 2023
Furthermore, the more tuned-in bloc of Red Sox fans are likely aware that Bloom's claim to having rebuilt the organization's young talent base since he was hired in October of 2019 rings a bit hollow:
Bloom said "there wasn't a whole lot coming" in terms of prospects when he took over.— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) January 21, 2023
Half of the org's current top 20 prospects (per @SoxProspects) were drafted or signed before he started.
Winning cures all, of course, but Boston's near-term outlook in the AL East, which also houses the Yankees, Blue Jays, Rays, and rising Orioles, isn't exactly promising. As such, this may be just the first round of Winter Weekend fan outrage to which Sox decision-makers are subjected.