Red Sox

Should Red Sox trade Mookie Betts? Here's a model Chaim Bloom could follow

Should Red Sox trade Mookie Betts? Here's a model Chaim Bloom could follow

Here's the reality: There's a good chance new chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom makes a few Boston Red Sox fans unhappy this winter.

Slugger J.D. Martinez has decided not to opt out of his contract, which on its face is good news for Boston. But it also increases the likelihood of the Red Sox trading Mookie Betts, who is entering the final year of his contract and should demand upwards of $30 million per year the following season.

If the Red Sox want to cut payroll, it will be very hard to devote more than $50 million (Martinez will make $23.75 million in 2020) to two players next season. That means trading either Martinez or Betts.

So, how would Bloom go about trading a fan favorite and former American League MVP? In a recent conversation with NBC Sports Boston, former New York Mets manager Jim Duquette suggested a similar deal pulled off by Arizona Diamondbacks general manager (and former Red Sox executive) Mike Hazen could be a blueprint.

"They did a pretty good job of trading Paul Goldschmidt in the final year of his deal," Duquette told NBC Sports Boston. "They didn’t want to, but (Hazen) got back some pretty good pieces from St. Louis. I think if you’re going to trade Mookie, that’s the kind of model that you’re looking at."

In December 2018, the rebuilding Diamondbacks shipped Goldschmidt -- a six-time All-Star and franchise cornerstone on a team-friendly deal -- to the Cardinals for three prospects (pitcher Luke Weaver, catcher Carson Kelly and infielder Andy Young) and a 2019 Competitive Balance draft pick.

So far, the returns look promising, as Weaver and Kelly both contributed at the MLB level for an Arizona team focused on competing in the long-term and that finished with a better 2019 record than Boston at 85-77.

"(The trade) wasn’t popular in Arizona, but (Hazen) basically said, ‘We’re trying to win this year and many years from now. We’re not going to get better right of the gate with the trade of Goldschmidt, but we want to get three or four controllable pieces.' That’s what he did, and it ended up working out pretty well for them."

Bloom and the Red Sox share a similar vision of long-term success. The obvious difference? Boston has one of largest payrolls in baseball and a passionate fanbase that won't settle for a traditional "rebuild" that's common practice for a small-market team like the Diamondbacks.

Duquette is keenly aware of those pressures, as he still takes criticism from Mets fans for trading away future All-Stars Scott Kazmir and Jose Bautista.

"It’s hard when you trade one of the best players in your sport to tell an educated fanbase that you got better," Duquette said, referencing a potential Betts trade. "It’s just not going to happen."

That said, Bloom's résumé may help him navigate these waters: The 36-year-old executive had to squeeze the most out of a tiny payroll as the Tampa Bay Rays' senior vice president of baseball operations, suggesting he's well-equipped to hunt for value in a potential Betts deal.

"I do think he has the discipline to not accept less," Duquette said of Bloom. "So, if he doesn’t get what he wants, then he’s going to hold onto him.

"And that’s not a bad thing, either, holding onto Mookie Betts."

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Ron Roenicke recalls losing World Series from most painful vantage point imaginable

Ron Roenicke recalls losing World Series from most painful vantage point imaginable

Ron Roenicke sprinted towards second base and into the face of a human tidal wave that stopped him dead in his tracks. The magical run of the 1984 Padres was over.

Roenicke may not be the first player that comes to mind on a San Diego team that included Tony Gwynn, Steve Garvey, and Goose Gossage.

But he was the last Padre to run the bases, affording him the relatively rare vantage point of watching a World Series celebration unfold at ground zero.

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We remember final outs of various Fall Classics for the reactions of the pitcher and catcher, whether it's Jesse Orosco tossing his glove joyously in 1986 or Jason Varitek jumping into the arms of Keith Foulke in 2004.

But what about the losing players, the ones who helplessly watch their dreams go up in smoke while engulfed in delirious bedlam? Roenicke knows that feeling, and he won't soon forget it.

He was on first base in Tiger Stadium when Tony Gwynn flied to left to complete Detroit's 8-4 win in 1984's clinching Game 5.

Tabbed to pinch run for fellow future manager Bruce Bochy, Roenicke raced halfway to second base before he saw not only the Tigers leaping from their dugout, but fans pouring onto the field to celebrate the city's first World Series title since 1968.

"I remember on the pop-up taking off running and then just seeing this mass of people coming on the field, and all I could think about was just get off the field and get in the dugout and try to be safe," Roenicke said earlier this offseason. "You're used to everything being in control on a baseball field and when the stands empty and it's chaos, it's a weird feeling like, 'What's going on?'"

Roenicke was lucky to be on the field at all. He opened the 1984 season without a team after being cut by the Mariners in spring training. He signed with the Padres on April 5 and spent most of the season at Triple A. Summoned on Sept. 1, he hit .300 in 12 games and figured his season was over, watching the Padres shock the Cubs in the NLCS, aided largely by Garvey's walk-off homer in Game 4.

Outfielder Kevin McReynolds injured his wrist during that series, however, opening a World Series roster spot. It went to Roenicke, a 28-year-old who had found himself in the opposite position just three years earlier, when an ankle sprain with a week to go cost him his job as the Dodgers' starting center fielder and sidelined him for the entire championship run.

"I jumped for the first base bag and blew up an ankle," Roenicke recalled. "I was still kind of involved in that one on the sidelines in the locker room and watching what was going on, but I wasn't on the field. Playing in '84, it meant something. You want to feel like you're involved and you're a piece of something."

Broadcaster Vin Scully recognized what that small moment meant for Roenicke, noting the juxtaposition with '81 and telling viewers, "So you see, fate has a way of evening up, I guess."

By the time Roenicke entered with one out, the Padres trailed 8-4 against a 104-win Tigers club that might've been the team of the decade. The unheralded Padres had already shocked the Cubs after losing the first two games of the NLCS, though, and never counted themselves out.

"We had a good team," Roenicke said. "I don't think anybody expected us to get through the Cubs. Sometimes when you're on a team that may not feel like the best team, but you win, it seems like you always think that something's going to happen, something good is going to happen."

Not this time. Alan Wiggins fouled to catcher Lance Parrish against MVP and Cy Young Award winner Willie Hernandez before Gwynn lined softly to left, opening the floodgates and leaving players on both sides fearing for their safety. Even Kirk Gibson, basically Mr. Tiger, had to throw fans off of him to reach the dugout.

"They won, so at least everyone's coming on the field happy," Roenicke said. "Then it got crazy on the bus. It was a mess. We showered up and we were waiting for escorts to the airport and they were having trouble.

There's a police car on fire, there's a cab that pulls up and the people are grabbing it and they end up taking the driver out and flipping the cab car over. It was pretty dangerous. And then the mounted police came in and just cleared the streets. And then our escort got to us and we got out of there.

Roenicke wouldn't reach a World Series again as a player, retiring in 1988 after an itinerant eight-year career. He added a ring as Angels third base coach in 2002, and another two years ago with the Red Sox as Alex Cora's bench coach.

In both cases, he joined the celebration on the field, which he much preferred to his experience in 1984.

Red Sox hold touching Memorial Day tribute at Fenway Park

Red Sox hold touching Memorial Day tribute at Fenway Park

The Boston Red Sox on Monday paid tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the United States of America.

At a nearly-empty Fenway Park, the Red Sox honored Memorial Day by dropping the American flag over the Green Monster. Robert Bean, a Medford, Mass., native and retired member of the United States Marine Corps and National Guard, performed “Taps” to top off the moving tribute.

See more from the ceremony below:

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Boston was supposed to host the Kansas City Royals for a Memorial Day matchup. Unfortunately, we were unable to be treated to baseball on the holiday, but credit to the Red Sox for going on with their tribute to our fallen heroes.