Rays restructure: Neander (now GM) and Bloom promoted; Silverman remains president
The Rays have announced a restructuring of their front office in which baseball operations president Matt Silverman remains in place, but Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom will have expanded duties and "directly oversee all functions within baseball operations,'' with Neander getting the title of GM.
Silverman said the "evolution" had been expected since he moved from his team president's role to take over baseball operations following the October 2014 departure of Andrew Friedman, with Bloom and Neander as his top deputies.
"My role has been to oversee baseball operations and the wide scope of activities we engage in,'' Silverman told the Tampa Bay Times. "Going forward, the charge is the same with my focus shifting away from daily management and more towards our longer term vision and priorities. When it comes to key decisions, we will all work closely together."
Neander, 33, has worked in the Rays baseball operations department for 10 seasons, the last two as a vice president after starting as an intern in January 2007.
Bloom, 33, has been with the Rays for 12 seasons, also serving as a vice president the last two after starting as an intern. He has interviewed for GM-level positions with the Brewers, Phillies and Twins, and declined an interview from the D-backs.
Having two people share responsibility at the top of baseball operations is somewhat unusual. The Rays say Neander will "focus on the department's player evaluation and procurement processes," and thus get the title of general manager, which the team has not used under current ownership.
"It's unique. It's custom-fit to our histories together and to our working relationships,'' Silverman said. "Because of their decade-long working relationship, Erik and Chaim are ideal partners to team up on the daily management of our department. The GM title marks Erik's focus on our player acquisition process."
Also, James Click will be promoted to vice president and serve essentially as assistant GM.
In a statement, Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg said: "Running a baseball operations department is an enormous challenge that requires a wide variety of talents, strong leadership, and tight collaboration. I have great confidence in Erik's and Chaim's ability to both lead our operations and to advance our methods and the scope of things we do. That is critical, especially in the face of an increasingly difficult competitive environment."