Red Sox

How Red Sox view Alex Verdugo, two prospects acquired in Mookie Betts trade

How Red Sox view Alex Verdugo, two prospects acquired in Mookie Betts trade

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.

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"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.

Pedro Martinez hopes MLB owners, players can think about fans and compromise

Pedro Martinez hopes MLB owners, players can think about fans and compromise

The NHL has announced a return-to-play strategy. The NBA could announce its plan as soon as Thursday after a Board of Governors vote.

And then there's Major League Baseball.

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MLB's first proposal was quickly shot down by the Players' Association, which submitted its own plan over the weekend. That's also expected to be immediately dismissed. And as the days tick by, the hopes for a 2020 season get dimmer. While there's still time to salvage a season, the lack of productive dialogue between the league and the MLBPA is getting discouraging.

Speaking on NBC Sports Network's "Lunch Talk Live" on Monday afternoon, Pedro Martinez voiced his frustration with the stalemate.

"I'm hoping that both sides actually stop thinking about their own good and start thinking about the fans," Martinez said. "I think this is a perfect time to have their baseball teams out there and try to have the people forget a little bit about what's going on. It's not only the pandemic, it's everything that's going on. People need something to actually do and find a way to relax. I hope that the Players' Association and MLB realize how important it is to bring some sort of relief to people."

Martinez is spot-on with the sentiment that sports returning would be a welcome respite from the news right now. But getting players back on the field is proving to be complicated, especially as the sides navigate the financials of a shorter season without revenue from tickets.

"The economics is the dark part of baseball. The business part of baseball is dirty. It's dark," Martinez told Tirico. "And I hope that they take into consideration who pays our salaries, what the people do for us, how important the people are, and forget about or at least bend your arm a little bit to find a middle ground for the negotiations.

Let's not be selfish about it. Let's think about the fans, let's think about the families that are home that want to at least watch a baseball game and distract themselves from all the things that are going on.

Ongoing disputes over money are reflecting horribly on the sport, and cancelling the entire 2020 season could do irreperable harm to a sport that has seen its popularity ebb in recent years.

Fans can only hope that the sides take Pedro's advice, and find some common ground — and do it quickly. 

Relive Manny Ramirez's greatest moments on Red Sox legend's 48th birthday

Relive Manny Ramirez's greatest moments on Red Sox legend's 48th birthday

One of the most entertaining players ever to don a Boston Red Sox uniform was born 48 years ago today.

That would be Manny Ramirez, who celebrates his birthday on May 30. In honor of the special occasion, Major League Baseball tweeted an awesome video that includes some of Ramirez's greatest moments:

Watch below:

That cutoff of Johnny Damon's throw never gets old.

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Ramirez joined the Red Sox in 2001 after spending the first seven seasons of his career with the Cleveland Indians. From there, he became a key contributor to two World Series titles (2004 and 2007) and furthered his legacy as one of the best right-handed hitters of all time.

He isn't done yet, either. Ramirez announced just a couple of months ago he is hoping to find a roster spot in Taiwan's Chinese Professional Baseball League. More "Manny Being Manny"? That sounds great to us.

We wish a very happy birthday to one of the greatest (and most interesting) players in Red Sox history.