On the eve of the trade deadline, a Red Sox player sat on a table inside the visitors clubhouse in Houston, glancing at his phone and scrolling for news, waiting for some indication of the team's plans. He expressed uncertainty about the front-office's plans. Buy? Sell? He was unsure, and no one from the baseball operations department had made the trip to Houston to ease players' concerns. Alone with his thoughts, the player wondered: If the front office dealt away players, how extensive would the teardown be? If they added to the roster, would it be enough to help? "I'm not sure how much support we're going to get," he said, with a resigned wave of disgust.
The confusion in the clubhouse remained even after the deadline. The Red Sox had added veterans Eric Hosmer and Tommy Pham, but traded longtime catcher Christian Vazquez, prompting shortstop Xander Bogaerts to say out loud to reporters what others in the organization felt. "I wouldn't say we got better because we lost [Vazquez]," Bogaerts said.
Since the deadline moves, the Red Sox slump has deepened, six losses in eight games, and the fog over the direction of the team has thickened as the team has drifted into last place in the AL East. Sources high within the franchise say the modus operandi has never changed: The ownership that has supported four championships in the past two decades wants Chaim Bloom, the team's head of baseball operations, to do what he can to construct a roster that can consistently contend for a championship, considering the front office sturdily resourced to do so. The Red Sox again have one of the highest payrolls in baseball, to the degree that they will pay a luxury tax for their spending in 2022.