Red Sox

Red Sox’ Chaim Bloom talks hectic season prep as Spring Training begins

"It feels like Spring Training. But behind the scenes, there's so many different things happening."

Boston Red Sox Executive Vice President/Assistant General Manager Eddie Romero (left) chats with Boston Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom. Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Amid the eternal chaos that is the NFL, Spring Training is opening for the Red Sox following MLB’s lengthy offseason lockout.

That means chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom’s task of improving the team on the fly heading into the season will now ramp up considerably as he tries to build a roster that can once again compete for a World Series.

But first, like Red Sox president Sam Kennedy, Bloom took a moment to express appreciation for baseball’s return while speaking with reporters at the team’s Spring Training facility in Fort Myers, Florida on Monday morning.

“I think speaking for everybody who follows the Red Sox and loves the Red Sox, it was tough emotionally, just not knowing and the prospect of not having a full season,” he admitted. “It’s wonderful that we get to do this…just realizing how fortunate we are to do what we do. This is yet another reminder, and we are all so fired up. Not just that we get to play, but that we get to play 162 [games].”

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The first of those 162 games will take place less than a month from now on April 7, which means the Red Sox still have a lot of work to do to both fill out the roster and prepare for the season. Though Bloom didn’t address many specifics of moves the team is looking at, including potentially signing Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki or bringing back slugger Kyle Schwarber, he did talk some on the state of the roster during the chaotic post-lockout period, admitting he’s “never experienced anything quite like this.”

“Usually this point in spring training is more relaxed,” he said. “You walk out here in the field…the weather is good, the vibe is good. It feels like Spring Training. But behind the scenes, there’s so many different things happening. Some of them are moving along faster than others. It is as busy as any time I’ve ever experienced in my career.”

Bloom added several positions on his roster are “well-spoken for” and noted the increased free-agent pool, which includes more than 200 players, could give the Red Sox more options than they’re used to for upgrading the team.

But in terms of whether or not the Sox would “go big” on a high-priced addition, Bloom downplayed the important of a major swing on the open market.

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“I don’t think we should worry about the size or the ‘Q’ factor or the splashiness of the move. We should be trying to use all our resources to be as great as we can every year, whatever that means. Certainly, the more flexibility you have, the more options you can consider. That’s part of why that flexibility is important because it does give you access to the whole menu.”

The Red Sox also face questions about retaining key figures that could soon either be eligible for contract extensions, like Rafael Devers, or are set to hit free agency at the end of the year, like Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez.

Asked specifically about Devers, Bloom declined to provide any details on whether Devers and the team might be in negotiations, noting that the Sox, like all 30 MLB teams, are just regaining contact with players after the lockout. But Bloom said “nothing has changed” about the team’s desire to keep Devers long-term: “He’s a cornerstone player for us, and we hope he’s here for a long time.”

The Red Sox will certainly need another big year from Devers, as well as others, to duplicate the surprising bounceback success of 2021, which saw the Sox finish 92-70 and reach the ALCS after being one of baseball’s worst teams in 2020.

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Anything less than that level of overall performance could see the Sox struggle to keep pace in the AL East, which Bloom called “the best division in sports.”

“I think we’re in an incredibly competitive division…we know where the bar is,” he said. “We were fortunate, proud to be the last team standing from it last year, but everybody is going to be loading up. We know that. We know how it works in the AL East, and we just got to make sure we can be in that mix.”

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