Four years to the day after the Red Sox hired Chaim Bloom to be their head of baseball operations, a title that is synonymous with general manager, Boston has selected his successor after three last-place finishes in four seasons. The Red Sox, who did make it to Game 6 of the ALCS during Bloom’s tenure in 2021 before falling to the Houston Astros, are going with a familiar face as their next head of baseball operations: two-time Boston pitcher Craig Breslow.
On the surface, Breslow, 43, seems like a fairly drastic change from Bloom. The former pitched professionally for 17 seasons, including 12 in the big leagues, from 2002-18, and won a World Series ring in 2007 with the Red Sox and emerged as a key bullpen arm during a second championship run with the club in 2013. The latter got his start in the majors as an intern for the Padres and wrote consistently for sabermetric analysis site Baseball Prospectus until he was hired by the analytics-obsessed Tampa Bay Rays.
Breslow was a baseball player. Bloom was a baseball analyst. But the characteristic that unites them is precisely why the Red Sox perhaps should have gone in a different direction with their new hire. Like former Boston front-office head Theo Epstein, who orchestrated Boston’s first championship in 86 years before performing a similar feat for the Chicago Cubs, Breslow and Bloom both graduated from Yale University in Connecticut.
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After attending the Ivy League school, Bloom departed with a bachelor’s degree in Latin Classics and Breslow left with degrees in both molecular biophysics and biochemistry. Breslow may have been a player, but like Bloom, he’s a Yale grad who is “known for his intelligence and for his familiarity with analytics and technology,” according to The Athletic. He’s a former Major Leaguer, but he’s also a major-league nerd and a big risk for a team that has seemed to have forgotten that baseball games are won on diamonds, not spreadsheets.
“Some in the organization have expressed concern about Breslow’s relative lack of experience and the potential that he could keep pushing the team further to the analytic side of player evaluation and roster construction,” per The Athletic. “Red Sox assistant general manager Eddie Romero, who has an extensive scouting background, was considered by some inside the organization to be the internal favorite for the job but was passed over yet again in favor of an outside hire with less experience.”