Red Sox

Chaim Bloom's GM meetings to-do list downright exhausting as 2020 Red Sox begin taking shape

Chaim Bloom's GM meetings to-do list downright exhausting as 2020 Red Sox begin taking shape

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The GM meetings are usually pretty sleepy. There's lots of groundwork-laying and tire-kicking and temperature-taking and tea-leaf-reading and trial-ballooning as teams assess what moves might be available at next month's winter meetings.

But the Red Sox and new chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom need to hit the ground at a brisk jog, because their offseason projects to be about as sleepy as Al Pacino in "Insomnia." And that makes this week's meetings at the Omni Resort more intriguing for Boston than any team in baseball.

The Red Sox could be in the market for, in no particular order: a right fielder, center fielder, first baseman, second baseman, closer, starter, depth starter, swing starter, break-glass-in-case-of-emergency starter, and however many relievers they can afford with what's left.

That's a hellacious to-do list, especially since item No. 1 will come into play if defending MVP (we can still call him that for a couple of more days) Mookie Betts is traded to ease a payroll crunch that's been exacerbated by the $79 million the Red Sox will pay question-mark starters Chris Sale, David Price, and Nathan Eovaldi. Speaking of which, the Red Sox probably wouldn't mind trading one of them.

Bloom couldn't deal Betts this early in the offseason even if he wanted to, because it would require a willing partner, and see paragraph No. 1 for insight into how most teams approach November. But that doesn't mean he can't make some moves around the margins they might nonetheless pay dividends in 2020.

The biggest area of need that can be addressed immediately is the starting rotation. The Red Sox might need to open the season with 10 viable starting options in the organization (including whoever piggybacks with an opener), and that's no exaggeration. Last season, injuries to Sale, Price, and Eovaldi forced a combined 36 starts from Hector Velazquez, Brian Johnson, Andrew Cashner, Jhoulys Chacin, Ryan Weber, Travis Lakins, Josh Smith, Josh Taylor, Darwinzon Hernandez, and Bobby Poyner. That group went 3-15 with an ERA that was . . . very bad (6.79, to be exact).

The Red Sox need to fill one actual hole in the rotation with a replacement for free agent Rick Porcello, who could return at a reduced salary, though moving on from a man who has posted a 4.79 ERA since winning the 2016 Cy Young Award probably makes sense. They then will need enough depth to account for any possible injuries to Sale, Price, and Eovaldi, two of whom underwent surgery last season and one of whom (Sale) still might.

That could mean taking a flyer on someone like former Phillies right-hander Jerad Eickhoff, a former well-regarded prospect who just became a free agent after refusing to be outrighted to the minors. Injuries have limited him to only 11 starts over the last two years, but he's only three years removed from winning 11 games and throwing nearly 200 innings while posting a 3.65 ERA.

That's the kind of player the Red Sox will be in the market for, thanks to their self-imposed payroll limitations. Bloom helped unearth gems in Tampa over the last three years, and the Red Sox hired him to do the same here.

With free agents Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce gone, a first baseman will be on the agenda, too. While the team could go internal with some combination of Michael Chavis and Bobby Dalbec, there should be no shortage of first basemen available on the market, including 25-homer Brewers slugger Marcus Thames and National postseason hero Howie Kendrick.

As for bullpen, the Red Sox have already made one move, signing former White Sox left-hander Josh Osich. There will undoubtedly be more like him to follow as the Red Sox look to upgrade beyond top four relievers Brandon Workman, Matt Barnes, Josh Taylor, and Darwinzon Hernandez.

MORE TOMASE: It's time for Mookie to tell the Sox what he really wants>>>

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MLB Rumors: These six teams pursued Martin Perez before Red Sox landed him

MLB Rumors: These six teams pursued Martin Perez before Red Sox landed him

Martin Perez is no Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg. But the veteran left-hander reportedly drew a good amount of interest in free agency before the Boston Red Sox scooped him up.

A "handful" of MLB teams, including the American League East foe Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays, pursued Perez before the Red Sox agreed to terms with him Thursday night, MassLive's Chris Cotillo reported.

Perez's surface-level stats aren't very inspiring: The 28-year-old posted a 5.12 ERA with the Minnesota Twins last season after the worst campaign of his career with the Texas Rangers in 2018 (6.22 ERA, 1.78 WHIP).

But what Perez does provide is durability: He's appeared in at least 32 games in three of the last four seasons, topping 165 innings in each of those campaigns.

Durable left-handers aren't a dime a dozen in MLB, which explains why Perez drew interest from several clubs looking to fill out their rotations entering 2020.

The Venezuela native should be a rotation-filler in Boston, projecting as Boston's fifth starter behind Chris Sale, David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez and Nathan Eovaldi with Rick Porcello leaving to join the New York Mets in free agency.

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Collaboration emerges as key to Chaim Bloom's leadership style with Red Sox

Collaboration emerges as key to Chaim Bloom's leadership style with Red Sox

If there's a theme that's emerging in Chaim Bloom's first two months as Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer, it's collaboration. 

It was stressed by Sox owner John Henry said at Bloom's introductory press conference and, after a series of minor moves at the winter meetings this week, Bloom, the former Tampa Bay Rays executive, has continued to talk about how he'll integrate the advice of as many members of the Red Sox organization as he can in his decision-making,

"It's super important to me. The reason we were able to have the success [at Tampa Bay] that we did was the people and how we all worked together," Bloom told ESPN's Joon Lee. "I hope that an appreciation has something to do with how I was raised both by my parents and then also how I was raised in this game with the people I was around. The value of that was something that was shown to me by a lot of the mentors around this game.

"You just see how much more you can accomplish when people work together when they feel valued, when everyone recognizes that no one person has a monopoly on the truth and nobody has all the answers. We are only going to achieve our full potential if we're willing to work together and willing to be vulnerable and acknowledge that we can all learn from each other."

That approach is a sharp contrast to Bloom's Red Sox predecessor, Dave Dombrowski, who was said to rely mainly on veteran baseball men Tony La Russa and Frank Wren, who, like Dombrowski are no longer with the organization.

"[Bloom] is basically the direct opposite of Dombrowski," one rival front-office executive told ESPN's Lee. 

Henry seemed to be referring to Dombrowski, with his "one-man show" comment when Bloom was introduced to the Boston media.

"I would just say we were extremely desirous of bringing in someone who would augment and add as opposed to just bringing in someone who might have been an autocrat, for instance, a one-man show," Henry said at the time.  

So, with big decisions on Mookie Betts and David Price still to come this offseason, and smaller moves in the books, such as parting ways with Rick Porcello, who signed with the Mets, and adding utility man Jose Peraza as a likely replacement for Brock Holt, Bloom will not be going it alone. 

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