Chaim Bloom had to face the music Monday night and explain why the Boston Red Sox traded their best outfielder in a generation.
He also had to justify the haul the Red Sox got in return.
The Red Sox' Chief Baseball Officer insisted the three players Boston acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers -- outfielder Alex Verdugo, infield prospect Jeter Downs and catching prospect Connor Wong -- were a fair return for outfielder Mookie Betts and pitcher David Price.
"It had to be a high bar for us to consider moving (Betts),” Bloom told reporters in Fort Myers, Fla., at a press conference. "In terms of the impact of the talented return we got and the impact that return could have on our future and the flexibility it allows us to build around it, this return met that bar."
Verdugo is the top prize: The 23-year-old broke into the majors three seasons ago and played 106 games for the Dodgers in 2019, batting .294 with an .817 OPS while playing all three outfield positions. He's major league-ready and should be Boston's Opening Day replacement for Betts in right field.
"Alex Verdugo is a really talented baseball player on both sides of the ball," Bloom said. "He can really hit and it’s not just power. He’s a really good hitter. Defensively, he can play all three positions. Tremendous arm, really showed himself last year in a very impressive full season debut. Showed himself as a very talented player.
"His instincts for the game are very good. He loves to play, loves to compete. He brings a lot of great things to the table."
Downs, MLB.com's No. 44 overall prospect in 2020, immediately becomes the Red Sox' top prospect. He'll likely start the season in Double-A Portland, but Bloom and the Sox seemingly view him as their second baseman of the future.
"Jeter Downs is a middle infielder who is a good athlete and a really good baseball player who this year, took a really big step forward offensively,” Bloom said.
" ... We think he has the chance to be a complete player that can really impact us. Great kid who plays the game with really good feel and calmness. Someone we feel will be really comfortable in the moment."
Wong now is the Red Sox' top catching prospect, and while he has less upside -- he ranked 15th among Dodgers prospects prior to his trade -- Bloom and his staff were impressed by the 23-year-old's 24 home runs in 111 minor league games last season.
"He’s always had a good offensive approach and has come into some power," Bloom said. "He’s a really good athlete behind the plate, so good that he has played second and third before. Those guys are hard to find.
"When you have really good athletes behind the plate, they can sometimes exceed what you expect of them. So far, he’s progressed really well."
Bloom presents the optimist's view of this trade. The pessimist's view is that Boston couldn't even land one of Los Angeles' top two prospects -- infielder Gavin Lux and pitcher Dustin May -- and didn't acquire a pitching prospect after balking at Minnesota Twins hurler Brusdar Graterol's medical records.
It may be years before we find out which side got the better of this deal.