Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom has had his hands full since being hired by the team nearly three weeks ago. Bloom, who previously served as the senior vice president of baseball operations for the Tampa Bay Rays, was hired after the Sox fired Dave Dombroski in September.
Now he must sort out the tasks left to him. That includes cutting the team’s payroll by about 15 percent to get it under the luxury-tax threshold of $208 million, addressing roster spot needs, and building relationships with players to meet their demands as well. With the return of slugger J.D. Martinez, which cost the team $23.75 million, the Sox still have to make a decision on whether to keep or trade outfielder Mookie Betts.
At least one player among the Mookie Betts/Francisco Lindor/Kris Bryant group will be traded this offseason, in the opinion of multiple @MLB team execs I’ve checked with over the last 24 hours. @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 11, 2019
“We have a lot to talk about,” Bloom said. “This process is just getting started.”
As the General Manager meetings begin on Monday in Scottsdale, Arizona, here’s what Bloom has said ahead of those meetings.
His goals for the offseason:
“Especially early on in the offseason our responsibility is to still explore as many options as we can with everybody with this whole roster,” he told the Bradfo Sho podcast. “To look under every rock to try and get better and to try and find things that work for the organization in the big picture. I don’t think it necessarily changes the number of things that we might explore but certainly, you’re looking at a somewhat different set of possibilities if he opts out than if he stays.”
On tackling the team’s roster needs while cutting payroll:
“With any situation, you’re trying to check as many boxes as you typically can. There’s a trade off with every move you might consider at this stage of the offseason,” he said. “You have to look at the big picture and assess all the options we are in a position to consider.”
His reaction to J.D. Martinez’ decision to not opt-out of his contract:
“Certainly J.D., rightly so and not just through what it is in his contract but obviously he’s an elite player, he had the right to make a decision for himself,” Bloom said. “He should be able to make that decision with his own interest in mind. We’re happy he chose to stay.”
“You know that obviously if he had opted out it doesn’t mean we’re never going to talk to him again,” he added. “We would have wanted to stay in contact with him and let the offseason play out but it’s obviously a little bit of a different board so to speak than if he’s here.”
Exploring what to do with Mookie Betts is the ‘No.1 topic’:
“Everything that surrounds his situation, but chiefly because of how excellent a player [Betts] is that seems to be the No. 1 topic on everyone’s mind,” he said. “He’s just a phenomenal player. Obviously, we saw that up close with the Rays. It’s something everyone in our industry appreciates. I’m still getting to know him but everything I know about him as a human being is also phenomenal.”
“I did talk to him a little bit early on. Of course, there are no shortcuts to building relationships. I still have some work to do on that front with our group as a whole but I’ve tried to reach out to a number of the guys… In that regard, I’m not sure it’s different than any situation with any player. It’s a little more visible. Obviously, it’s an elite player in a situation that is going to get a lot of attention. But it’s the same process of getting to know the situation as it would be really with anything going on in the organization.”
How he wants to establish trust:
“I don’t think you’ll see us doing trust falls off the Green Monster anytime soon. But I think there’s a lot of different ways to do that,” he explained. “Number one, it starts with whatever contribution I can make. I think it starts with living the values that I want us to have. If I want people to be open and honest and vulnerable, then I need to be those things myself.”