The Los Angeles Dodgers have set the standard and have yet to relinquish their spot at the top of the game. When they brought in Andrew Friedman from the Tampa Bay Rays to become their president of baseball operations, it turned Major League Baseball upside down.
The concept was simple in theory but has proven much harder in practice: get a small-market executive with a meticulous eye, capable of making momentous moves without doing much heavy lifting, and arm him with one of the largest budgets in the league so he can appropriately supplement all the under-the-radar talent he'd also be acquiring. That's how you build a super contender.
Rival fans might laugh at the Dodgers because, under Friedman's reign, they have a "Mickey Mouse" World Series and far too many playoff chokes to stomach remembering, but on a year in and year out basis, LA has been the cream of MLB's crop because of their sustained dominance since his arrival.
We're not telling you anything new. But we are telling you that no other team has been able to come close to replicating (or has even tried to do) what the Dodgers have done with Friedman.
There aren't a whole lot of examples to make comparisons to, but the Red Sox' copycat attempt to mirror the Dodgers' plan has failed miserably ever since Boston hired Chaim Bloom to take over. The San Francisco Giants are still trying with Farhan Zaidi, but but you'll know when that's labeled a success or a failure.
Red Sox trying to copy Dodgers' front office blueprint has been a failure
Boston's 2021 run to the ALCS was just ask flukey as the Giants' 107-win 2021 season. Both teams cratered in 2022 and tried to be too smart for their own good.
The Sox have been in a different stratosphere of incompetence, however. They traded Mookie Betts to the Dodgers for pretty much nothing. They traded Hunter Renfroe after a 30-homer season despite a cost-effective price tag. They let Kyle Schwarber walk in free agency after trading for him in 2021. They extended Matt Barnes. They gave the Yankees salary relief by trading for Adam Ottavino, who ended their 2021 season. They let Martín Pérez walk. They traded Christian Vázquez to the Astros and helped Houston win a World Series. They opted to not get value for JD Martinez, Nathan Eovaldi and Michael Wacha -- all impending free agents -- at the trade deadline. They paid Trevor Story $140 million! They botched negotiations with Xander Bogaerts and saw him leave for the Padres last week. The same is about to likely go down with Rafael Devers.
That's all since the start of the 2020 season! You can't come up with a list of unforgivable moves like that for Friedman's entire eight-year tenure!
Is this all Bloom's fault? Most likely not. The Red Sox ownership group is clearly hell bent on saving money for their many other investment opportunities. But when Bloom's been given the green light to spend, he's been beyond underwhelming (Story, Barnes). When he's been tasked with finding diamond-in-the-rough trade acquisitions, he's done nothing of note. The guy's claim to fame is swiping Garrett Whitlock from the Yankees in the Rule 5 Draft because New York had no room for him on their 40-man roster.
The problem with what the Red Sox are doing is that they're seemingly restricting Bloom's power from the financial side. Now that he's in a bigger market, there's likely a bit more skepticism from other teams when he's trying to make trades. Allowing a team like the Rays to load up on prospects/young talent versus allowing the Red Sox to do that are two completely different scenarios because, in theory, Boston would be able to supplement that with expensive signings whereas the Rays would be working with a bunch of unproven prospects or pre-arb players.
Small market Bloom in a big market city without the proper resources has set the Red Sox back more than anybody can predict. In a sad attempt to copy the Dodgers, the Sox either tried to trail blaze their own blueprint with some Dodgers flavor or got the anti-Friedman.
Regardless, it's a failure that might have other big market teams thinking twice when considering such a philosophy change.