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Red Sox hire former pitcher Craig Breslow as new chief baseball officer

Boston is bringing back a familiar — if unconventional — face to replace Chaim Bloom after consecutive disappointing seasons.

Former pitcher Craig Breslow of the Boston Red Sox speaks during the 2023 Red Sox Winter Weekend on January 21, 2023 at MGM Springfield and MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts. Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

It’s been over a month since the Boston Red Sox parted ways with Chaim Bloom. But on Wednesday, after a long, meandering and at times not all that encouraging search, the team finally landed on their new lead decision-maker: Former Red Sox reliever Craig Breslow, who the club announced on Wednesday had accepted the position of chief baseball officer (the same title Bloom had).

“We feel strongly that Craig is the right person at the right time to lead our baseball department,” Red Sox owner John Henry said in a statement. “Craig’s understanding of the game is remarkable. What convinced us to bring him aboard in this capacity was his highly strategic philosophy and his grasp of what it takes operationally in today’s evolving game to excel at the highest level in player acquisition, development, and execution at the major league level. We are excited to welcome him back.”

In that same statement, Breslow added:

“I couldn’t be more excited to return to the Boston Red Sox, an organization that means so much to my family and to me. I am humbled by the opportunity to lead baseball operations and to work alongside so many talented people. I’d like to thank John Henry, Tom Werner, Mike Gordon, and Sam Kennedy for entrusting me with executing the vision we share for this organization. I know firsthand how special winning in Boston is, and I look forward to once again experiencing that passion and success with our fans.”

The name will likely be a familiar one for baseball fans, especially in New England. Breslow, 43, spent parts of 12 seasons in the Majors as a reliever — including parts of five seasons in Boston, where he was an integral member of the bullpen for the 2013 World Series champion Red Sox, pitching to a 1.81 ERA in 61 regular-season appearances. He also made 10 appearances in the playoffs that season, posting a 2.45 ERA in 7.1 innings.

Breslow last pitched in 2017 for Cleveland and Minnesota. The Yale graduate began his front-office career not long after, joining Theo Epstein and the Cubs in January 2019, as director of strategic initiatives for baseball operations. After the 2019 season, Breslow was promoted to director of pitching/special assistant to the president and general manager. After the 2020 season, he was promoted again, this time to assistant general manager/vice president of pitching.

And now, less than a half-decade after joining a front office, he’s running one for one of the sport’s marquee franchises — the culmination of what’s been a meteoric rise up the ranks. Of course, this has become something of a trend recently, as teams embrace young former players who can bridge the gap between clubhouse feel and analytics. The Rangers hired Chris Young a few years ago now find themselves in the World Series, while the White Sox just hired former infielder Chris Getz late last month.

As for how Breslow will fare in the job, or what approach he might take, that obviously remains to be seen. He inherits a team at something of a crossroads, competitive early in 2023 before falling apart down the stretch and seemingly caught between identities and competitive timelines. The Red Sox won the World Series in 2018, made the ALCS in 2021 and have finished in last place each of the last two years, leading to Bloom’s dismissal.