Chaim Bloom has plenty on his plate as he takes the Chief Baseball Officer title for the Red Sox, and figuring out the future of Mookie Betts is right at the top of the list.
Betts is entering the final year of his Red Sox contract and there hasn't been any indication the two sides are remotely close to coming to terms on an extension. All signs point toward the 2018 American League MVP being prepared to test out free agency in 2020, which brings into question whether the team could look to trade the face of their franchise.
During Bloom's introductory press conference on Monday, the 36-year-old was peppered with several questions regarding the direction of the organization. Predictably, a number of those questions were Betts-related, but Bloom opted not to get into specifics during his first day on the job.
“Just having gotten here, obviously I come in with some information having competed against this team for a long time," Bloom said. "There’s a lot I don’t know and a lot I’m still learning."
As Bloom gets himself situated in his new role, Red Sox chairman Tom Werner and principal owner John Henry will continue to face questions regarding Betts until the star right fielder's contract situation is resolved.
Werner reiterated his prior comments regarding the organization's desire to keep Betts in Boston for the rest of his career, though he didn't exactly exude confidence in the two sides reaching an agreement any time soon.
“As we’ve said, we think he’s one of the great players in baseball, and in a perfect world, we would like to figure out a way for him to continue to be a player for us for [the rest of] his career,” Werner said. “He has the right to test free agency. We had conversations with him in the past, and Chaim and his group will lead conversations going forward.”
Since planning out Betts' future is the No. 1 order of business for Bloom as he takes over for Dave Dombrowski, it's conceivable his name was brought up multiple times during the interview process with the new Chief Baseball Officer.
Henry acknowledged there indeed were discussions with Bloom about Betts, though there other variables that come into play including whether Mookie even wants to be in Boston for the long haul.
“I would say we talked about that there are a lot of tough decisions to make this offseason,” Henry said. “That’s not uncommon during offseasons, but there are some significant decisions. They’re not all in our hands, obviously. The first one is not our decision to make, but it will impact us.
"It was more of a general discussion. We talked about Mookie, JD [Martinez], other issues, but we didn’t focus on ‘What should we do?’ because you’re going to be looking at a number of factors, including where Mookie wants to play — for the long term.”
Between Betts' uncertain future, J.D. Martinez potentially opting out of his contract, and the money tied up within the Red Sox rotation, Bloom has quite the mess to sort out this offseason. But if there's one thing Sox brass wants to be made clear, it's that they believe Bloom is the perfect man for the job.
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