FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Chaim Bloom typically projects an air of calm, but one question on Monday night clearly struck a nerve.
Facing the media just moments after finally announcing the trade of Mookie Betts and David Price to the Dodgers, Bloom was asked about a report that ownership had considered backing out of the deal based on negative fan reaction.
"I'm glad you asked," Bloom said. "We did hear that report. That's absolutely untrue. Unfortunately, when these things are going on and especially during a process, it's not something we're able to address. But that is not true."
The Red Sox certainly provided critics with plenty of ammunition. The team was savaged over the supposedly light return for Betts and Price, and then the deal nearly died over the medicals of Twins reliever Brusdar Graterol, who was supposed to come to Boston but ended up going to the Dodgers instead.
Meanwhile, fans fumed over giving away Betts in his prime.
"We certainly anticipated it," Bloom said of the negative reaction. "As we were going through this week, obviously it was hard to have a true sense of it. It wasn't our No. 1 priority as a baseball ops department to be focused on what was going on externally. We worried obviously about what we were working on, but it was very clear to us that this move would come with a lot of fan backlash.
"I think we had to prioritize what was right in the big picture for the Red Sox over the fan reaction. It certainly did not catch us off guard. As I said, we know how much, obviously we know the type of player Mookie is, we know how much he matters to our fans. We knew it would hurt, and it's going to hurt for a little while, but again, the big picture was our biggest priority."
That meant acquiring outfielder Alex Verdugo, with Dodgers prospects Jeter Downs and Connor Wong replacing Graterol in the final version of the deal.
Did Bloom ever think the trade might die?
"Whenever you are dealing with something as complex as obviously this one was, there are usually – and this case was no exception – a lot of points along the way where things are in question," he said.
As for whether the Red Sox have any regrets for the way the situation was handled, Bloom said they'd learn from the experience.
"Knowing how it played out, and how it played out so unfortunately in the public eye, there's always things I think you might look back and say you'd do differently," Bloom allowed. "But having been a part of a lot of trades over the years, I'm really proud of how our group handled this one both in terms of putting us in position to make a good decision and making sure we were prepared with all the information we needed, and then the due diligence.
"I think it was difficult for me and difficult for everyone to have to stay silent when you hear your motives being questioned and things like that. But if at the end of the day what you care about is being ethical, being straightforward, and keeping the interest of your players in mind, and also other teams, then that's the right thing to do, so that's what we did.
"I know there was a lot out there about this, but I just want to be very clear, especially for our team, that we prioritized acting straightforwardly and acting ethically at all times, and still making sure we were representing the interests of the Red Sox."