The Boston Red Sox have found themselves on a losing stint in recent years, with three last place finishes in the American League East in four years and only one postseason appearance where they lost the 2021 AL Championship Series to the Houston Astros. In a market as big as
The Boston Red Sox have found themselves on a losing stint in recent years, with three last place finishes in the American League East in four years and only one postseason appearance where they lost the 2021 AL Championship Series to the Houston Astros. In a market as big as Boston, fans are used to winning, and after the team and former Head of Baseball Operations Chaim Bloom decided to part ways, the Sox needed someone to set the course of action to return the Red Sox to a winning form. That someone is Craig Breslow.
Breslow was born in New Haven, Connecticut to a Jewish family and played sports from a young age. Trumbull High School witnessed Breslow's development as an athlete, showing excellent abilities in both baseball and soccer as captain of both squads. His accomplishments include a selection in the Massachusetts/Connecticut All-Star Game at Fenway Park and a State Soccer Championship. Breslow also shined academically, achieving a score of 1420 on his SAT exam.
Breslow's collegiate destination was Yale University, where he graduated with honors and a degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry. He even received an invitation to medical school at NYU, however, Breslow decided not to attend and refused admission up to four times due to his love for baseball. At Yale, the left-handed pitcher's career included a 16-strikeout game against Cornell and a shutout against Harvard. He led the Ivy League in his senior year with a 2.56 ERA.
The Milwaukee Brewers drafted Breslow in 2002, and a 12-year career began. After a stint with the Brewers, a season in Independent ball, and a season with the San Diego Padres, Breslow signed a minor league contract with the Boston Red Sox in 2006. The Triple-A Red Sox-affiliated team was the Pawtucket Red Sox at the time, and current Worcester Red Sox Vice President of Communications Bill Wanless remembers Breslow's time in Pawtucket.
"What people don't remember sometimes is that he really had a very solid career, 12 years in the majors, a 3.53 ERA, a little underrated, and we remember him in 2006 and 2007 when he was an International League All-Star in both seasons, and in 2007 the team voted him the Most Valuable Pitcher,” Wanless said. " A local guy who wasn't drafted in the early rounds but managed to have that kind of career is amazing to watch."
For Wanless, the combination of Breslow being so smart with his experience in the majors is something you don't see every day.
"I think it's unique, an attribute that I think can be very effective in the game today," he said. "Combining the analytical mind with the game mind, he's a guy who knew he could get the job done with a lot of self-confidence, a guy who had the opportunity to go to NYU Medical School and turned down that opportunity four times because he had the confidence in himself that he could have a career in baseball. Not many people can say that."
During Breslow's career, he was nominated several times for the Roberto Clemente Award, one of the most prestigious achievements in the sport given to players who do great community work.
"When he was in Pawtucket, he was a community-minded guy, someone from Connecticut who understood the area and who came to community events in the off-season," Wanless said. "All of this prepared him for his life after baseball, and the fact that he was more than just a player, he's a classy guy in every sense of the word."
The WooSox will honor the organization that Breslow founded in 2008, the Strike 3 Foundation, this season. According to its website, the Strike 3 Foundation is a "charitable agency that heightens awareness, mobilizes support, and raises funding for childhood cancer."
After retirement, Breslow worked for the Chicago Cubs' Front Office as assistant general manager/vice president of pitching. The Red Sox took his Chicago experience, his academic education, and his major league experience to execute the decision to introduce Craig Breslow as the team's new CBO at a press conference in early November where the former reliever gave his first impressions in his new position.
"Some of you will see me as any other Ivy League nerd with a Front Office job in baseball. It's true... but I'm also a 13-year major leaguer and a 2013 World Series champion with the Boston Red Sox," were Breslow's first words in his new role.
The Red Sox really need one thing: to win, and Breslow knows that.
"I know what it takes to win here, and I'm willing to take the hard decisions necessary to deliver."
He also mentioned that his and ownership’s goal is the same, to win, and Breslow announced that they will take any possible path to achieve it without cutting any corners or leaving any stones unturned.
"I think the building blocks of a healthy organization are acquisition, development, and optimization and the complex interactions between them," Breslow said. "It's also the job of the analytics department to identify competitive advantages, the coaching department to keep the players on track, and the performance department to keep the players on the field, however, you can't address any of these aspects in isolation. You have to appreciate the interactions of all three."
Breslow made an initial assessment of what is currently in place in terms of players. He mentioned that he will have a strong focus on pitching development and reaffirmed Alex Cora as the manager of the Red Sox in 2024. Cora is and should be one of the cornerstones of Breslow's and the Red Sox' success, and the manager said the common goal is clear.
"Obviously we've had a tough couple of years, but the ultimate goal is to win a World Series," Cora said. "We have to be better. We don't know yet the personnel we'll have next year, but we have to be patient. Our process starts in the next few days, and we have to find the right process to win."