Boston Red Sox new Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom is a busy man this offseason and promises to get busier as key decisions about the team's direction await.
While J.D. Martinez made Bloom's life a little easier (not much) by deciding to not opt out of his contract and remain with the Red Sox, Bloom said he's very pleased with Martinez's decision.
"I think that’s fair," Bloom told WEEI's Rob Bradford on the Bradfo Sho podcast, when asked if Martinez's decision altered the course of the Sox offseason. "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 and he should be able to make that decision with his own interest in mind. We’re happy he chose to stay."
Bloom said he wasn't necessarily surprised by the designated hitter's decision. However, if Martinez decided to opt out, Bloom admitted the Sox would've been in contact with the slugger about a possible new contract.
Still, that doesn't mean Martinez, due $23.6 million this season, won't be traded for future assets as the Sox look to cut payroll.
He has a limited no-trade clause in his contract, and must inform the Red Sox of three potential trade candidates before the end of the month. The payroll-conscious Sox could very well trade him, but our Red Sox Insider John Tomase believes he could virtually guarantee staying in Boston by blocking potential teams that could trade for him.
While the Martinez issue may or may not be closed, for now, Bloom said he has a clearer vision of Betts' situation after spending a few weeks with the organization.
"I certainly know a lot more than I did on the day that I got here," Bloom told Bradford. "Not just about him but about a lot of guys. Everything that surrounds his situation, but chiefly because of how excellent a player he is that seems to be the No. 1 topic on everyone’s mind. 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. He’s a pretty special person."
Bloom said he's trying to build strong relationships with the players in his early days in the organization.
"I did talk to him a little bit early on," Bloom said of Betts. "Of course, there are no short cuts 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. They’ve all been great and that’s been really nice. So I know a little bit more than I did in terms of getting my arms around the situation and as a group how we’re going to address it. 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."
While the situation is "more visible," according to Bloom, Tomase believes the Red Sox need to "put the ball in Betts' court" and see what happens. Tomase writes that if Betts isn't going to take a fair deal from Boston, a suitable trade partner should be searched for immediately, rather than well into the 2020 season.
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