Red Sox’ Chaim Bloom on Dustin Pedroia’s retirement press conference: ‘Every young player who comes into our organization should watch this, and just see how he talks about how he got after his craft’

Earlier this week, Dustin Pedroia retired from baseball after 17 years with the Red Sox organization.

The 37-year-old infielder took approximately 37 minutes to field questions from reporters during a Zoom press conference on Monday. And while he said it will likely be a while before he considers a return to baseball in a full-time, non-playing capacity, it appears that his words could already be making an impact on the Red Sox.

That being the case because in his presser, Pedroia spoke of the way he approached everyday of his baseball career from the time he was a young child until the time he was a veteran big-leaguer.

“There was a reason why I was the first one dressed at 5:30 for a 7 o’clock game,” Pedroia said Monday. “The biggest thing in my mind was, ‘This could be my last game. You don’t know.’ And that’s the way I approached it from Little League on. I played every game like it was my last one. I had the best time playing… I never took one play off from Little League on.”

These words, as well as plenty of others from the former American League MVP resonated with many, including Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom. He said as much himself during a virtual town hall event earlier Thursday afternoon.

“If you didn’t get a chance to watch his press conference, go watch it,” Bloom said of Pedroia. “I was watching this and I said, ‘Every young player who comes into our organization should watch this, and just see how he talks about how he got after his craft.’ That’s what we want from every young player. The things he cares about: preparing, working hard, being the best teammate and winning. That’s really what it’s all about.”

As far as the role Bloom and Co. envision for Pedroia in the future, the CBO said that topic was one of the first topics touched upon when the two sides discussed how the four-time All-Star’s career would come to a close.

“It’s still early, and as he said really eloquently in his press conference, he’s going to prioritize family, and especially those three boys, right now,” stated Bloom. “But, as we were navigating this retirement, we started the conversation with him. He knows we want him to be involved. It’s really a question of figuring out what works for him in a way that’s going to be really productive for the organization.”

Now that Pedroia has retired, the Red Sox would obviously like to celebrate the longtime second baseman’s career in ceremonial fashion at Fenway Park this coming season.

The only thing preventing that from happening is the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which will presumably place a limit on how many fans can attend Red Sox home games in 2021.

“We will absolutely appropriately celebrate Pedey,” team president and CEO Sam Kennedy said of the club’s plans to honor Pedroia. “But, we have to do it when we have a packed house, or at least have some fans back. He deserves that, and I know fans want to see him.

“I just would echo exactly what Chaim said,” Kennedy continued. “What an incredible role model, spokesperson, someone you want to try and emulate. If you have a young person playing any sport, the work ethic, the commitment, the passion, you can’t teach that. He was an original. Such an important part of everything that’s gone on here the past 20 years. Really looking forward to the day when we can welcome him into the organization in some capacity. But, I don’t think it will be for a while. I think he really wants to be home and be with his family, and he’s privileged to be in a position to do that. So, we’ll be patient.

For now, Pedroia — even without taking on a full-time role within the organization — will still play an important part for Boston moving forward in 2021 and beyond.

Just ask Red Sox manager Alex Cora.

“He’ll be facetiming a lot of people. We know that,” Cora said with a smirk. “He’s still going to be a presence, obviously. With everything that is going on, whenever we get him back at Fenway it’s going to be a fun day. He will always be welcome. Nonstop texting, calling people, helping players out. He’s going to be a big part of what we are trying to accomplish not only this year but the upcoming years… This guy, the last two years, three years, has been very important to the program, and that’s not going to change.”

(Picture of Dustin Pedroia: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Chaim Bloom felt Alex Cora was ‘right choice’ for manager in order to move Red Sox forward

Upon his hiring last October, Red Sox chief baseball officer got the chance to become familiar with Alex Cora, who he likely presumed would be his manager for the foreseeable future.

Instead, as a result of his involvement in the 2017 Astros’ illegal stealing of signs, Cora and the Red Sox mutually agreed to part ways in January.

That left Bloom with a rather sizable hole to fill at the managerial position in a relatively short period of time.

Ron Roenicke, Cora’s bench coach the previous two seasons, eventually landed the job in February, but he served as more of a stopgap as anything upon his dismissal from the club in September.

Again, Bloom was tasked with finding the Red Sox’ next manager, this time with a little more time do so and a greater number of candidates to consider.

One of those candidates, Cora, could not be interviewed until after this year’s World Series ended, so that left Bloom with about a month to contemplate who else may be qualified for the job.

“When we started the process after the season, we spent a lot of time coming up with a really good list of candidates,” Bloom said at Cora’s re-introductory press conference Tuesday. “We vetted them very thoroughly, we talked to a number of people.”

Still, even when interviewing external candidates such as Sam Fuld or James Rowson, Bloom knew he wanted to talk to Cora before arriving at any final decision.

“I knew at that time that I wanted to have some kind of conversation with Alex when it was okay to do so, which wouldn’t be until after the World Series,” he continued. “I really didn’t know then if he was, in my mind, in real consideration for the job. I just thought it would be good for me, good for him, good for the organization since we really hadn’t spoken since everything happened in January.”

So, Bloom, general manager Brian O’Halloran, and Cora talked. That dialogue, by all accounts, was initiated by Bloom, and it led to a group of Red Sox officials flying down to Puerto Rico to speak with Cora in-person at his home.

“When the time came time to speak with him, we had a lot of different things to work through,” said Bloom. “We were able to have some really intense conversations. Obviously, everything was happening quickly within the week-plus after the World Series, but we got to work through a lot of things. It was really just a question of trying to get as much information as I could to see Alex in full; everything that he had done, good and bad, and everything that he might do.”

Of course, Cora was viewed as one of, if not the favorite to return to Boston even before his suspension had ended. That was mainly due to how highly Red Sox ownership thinks of Cora, which led to speculation that the likes of John Henry, Tom Werner, and Sam Kennedy would overrule Bloom on this matter if the latter was not in on Cora.

Speculation aside, Bloom assured the masses on Tuesday that he had full backing from ownership regardless of the decision he made on this matter.

“First and foremost, it was important that they play a role,” Bloom said of Henry and Co. “They’re responsible for the entire organization. I respect that there’s a lot of different opinions out there on Alex on what he did and what that should mean for any organization that might think about employing him. And it’s obviously important, since [ownership] is responsible for the organization, for me to know how they felt. To understand that if it was something baseball operations saw fit to do, that it was something they would support.

“Obviously, if that weren’t the case, it would have obviously been a different process,” he added. “So, not only do I think that that was appropriate, I actually think it was necessary to know how they felt. They also made sure I knew that if I or baseball ops. felt differently, then that was okay, too… They were emphatic that it’s very important that this be a baseball operations decision and they would fully back whatever decision we came to.”

At the end of the day, or last Thursday to be more specific, Bloom and his team ultimately decided that Cora’s strengths, such as his ability to effectively communicate information to players, outweigh any red flags that come with the hire, such as history with the Astros.

“I felt he was the right choice to move us forward,” Bloom said of Cora. “The goal in this process for me was to find the right person to lead the Boston Red Sox.”

Cora has already shown that he can move the Red Sox in the right direction before, as evidenced by leading the club to a World Series title in 2018. The 45-year-old will now get another shot to lead a team that looks quite different from the one he initially left nine months ago.

How Cora and Bloom’s relationship continues to develop over the course of the offseason and into spring training should be interesting to monitor as well.

Red Sox Officially Re-Introduce Alex Cora as Manager

The Red Sox officially re-hired Alex Cora as their next manager, the club announced earlier Friday evening.

Cora, who turned 45 last month, signed a two-year contract with the Sox that includes club options for the 2023 and 2024 seasons.

The native of Puerto Rico was originally named the 47th manager in Boston’s franchise history back in October 2017. His first stint with the Red Sox, highlighted by a World Series-winning campaign in 2018, came to an end in January when the two sides agreed to mutually part ways in the midst of Major League Baseball’s investigation regarding Cora’s role in the Astros’ 2017 sign-stealing scandal.

Now, nearly 10 months after he left the club, Cora is back and excited to manage once again.

“I  am grateful for the opportunity to manage once again and return to the game I have loved my entire life,” said Cora in a statement released by the Red Sox. “This past year, I have had time to reflect and evaluate many things, and I recognize how fortunate I am to lead this team once again. Not being a part of the game of baseball, and the pain of bringing negative attention to my family and this organization was extremely difficult. I am sorry for the harm my past actions have caused and will work hard to make this organization and its fans proud. I owe John Henry, Tom Werner, Mike Gordon, Sam Kennedy, Chaim Bloom and Brian O’Halloran my gratitude for giving me another chance. I am eager to get back to work with our front office, coaches, and especially our players. Boston is where I have always wanted to be and I could not be more excited to help the Red Sox achieve our ultimate goal of winning in October.”

The process of re-hiring Cora did not last all that long for the Sox, as they were free to interview him for the opening as soon as this year’s World Series camt to a close late last month.

Still, in a separate statement released by the team, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom acknowledged that conversations with Cora about a potential reunion were “lengthy, intense, and emotional.”

“Alex Cora is an outstanding manager, and the right person to lead our club into 2021 and beyond,” said Bloom. “The way he leads, inspires, and connects with everyone around him is almost unmatched, and he has incredible baseball acumen and feel for the game. We considered a very impressive slate of candidates – the brightest managerial prospects in the game today. Because of all that had happened, I knew that I wanted to speak with Alex once his suspension ended, but I didn’t yet know if it made sense to consider him for the job as well. Our conversations were lengthy, intense, and emotional. Alex knows that what he did was wrong, and he regrets it. My belief is that every candidate should be considered in full: strengths and weaknesses, accomplishments and failures. That is what I did with Alex in making this choice. He loves the Red Sox and the game of baseball, and because of that we believe he will make good on this second chance. I join our whole organization in welcoming Alex back to Boston and Fenway Park.”

Cora and Bloom were able to get acquainted a little bit prior to the former’s departure from the Sox in January, but they will now have the opportunity to get to know one another even better.

As for when Cora will be re-introduced to the media via a press/Zoom conference, it looks like that will not take place until next week.

It should be interesting to see what kind of questions Cora and whoever else is on the dais with him will have to field from reporters once that presser does take place.

Red Sox Officially Name Ron Roenicke Interim Manager

The Red Sox have officially named Ron Roenicke as their interim manager, per the club’s official Twitter account.

According to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, the ‘interim’ tag in Roenicke’s new title could be dropped as soon as Major League Baseball completes its investigation into the 2018 Red Sox. That all depends on the results, though.

Roenicke, 63, had spent the previous two years as bench coach under Alex Cora and was viewed as one of, if not the top internal candidate for the position upon Cora’s dismissal from the post last month.

The California native was the only internal candidate interviewed by the Sox who had previous big-league managing experience, as he manned the helm for the Milwaukee Brewers from November 2010 until May 2015.

Roenicke denied any wrongdoing during his tenure as bench coach last month, saying that, “It would be concerning if something happened — that I knew I wasn’t part of — that I was brought into as part of that. I know what I do. I always try to do things the right way.”

If the ‘interim tag’ is removed from his title, Roenicke would become the 48th manager in Red Sox history. And with his promotion, the Sox find themselves without a bench coach for the time being. Perhaps Jason Varitek could fill that void.

Chaim Bloom Says Red Sox Have ‘a Lot of Time’ to Find Replacement for David Price

Mookie Betts and David Price have officially been traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. While the Red Sox are getting a serviceable replacement for Betts in the form of 23-year-old outfielder Alex Verdugo, they were unable to compensate for their pitching needs in this five-player deal.

As things stand right now, the Red Sox’ starting rotation is composed of Chris Sale, Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathan Eovaldi, and newcomer Martin Perez. That’s about it now that Price is out of the picture.

Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom was asked at Monday’s press conference about who could replace the veteran left-hander this coming season.

“As strange as it is to say this right before pitchers and catchers report, obviously we have a lot of time to figure that out,” Bloom said. “We have spent a lot of the winter adding starting depth to our 40-man [roster]. We have some good options off-roster as well.”

Prior to shipping Betts and Price off to Los Angeles, Bloom and Co. kept plenty busy by making a number of smaller transactions. Some of the players who will serve as starting depth that are currently on the 40-man roster include Matt Hall, Kyle Hart, Chris Mazza, Mike Shawaryn, Hector Velazquez, and Ryan Weber.

In terms of pitchers that are not currently on the 40-man roster, Tanner Houck and Brian Johnson immediately come to mind as hurlers who could start in the majors this season if necessary.

“Because of the shoes David leaves behind, we’re going to continue to look outside the organization as well,” Bloom added.

Just because pitchers and catchers report to Fenway South on Tuesday does not mean that additional roster shakeups will be made. Players will be traded, waived, maybe even released.

With the six-plus weeks remaining until the start of the 2020 regular seasons, it would be foolish to think that the Red Sox’ roster won’t look different come March 25th.

David Price will be missed, both on the field and in the Sox’ clubhouse, but despite what you may be led to believe, there is time to implement an adequate replacement or replacements.

Looking Back at Adrian Beltre’s Time With the Red Sox

10 years ago Wednesday, the Red Sox formally introduced third baseman Adrian Beltre to the media at Fenway Park four days after agreeing to a one-year, $10 million deal with the then-30-year-old infielder.

In his brief stint donning a Sox uniform, Beltre was productive, slashing .321/.365/.553 with 28 home runs, 102 RBI, and an American League-leading 49 doubles over 154 games played. Impressive enough to earn his first All-Star nod, his second career Silver Slugger Award, and a top-nine finish in AL MVP voting.

The Red Sox, meanwhile, were not as impressive as a whole that season, as the club finished 89-73, good for third place in a competitive American League East, and failed to qualify for postseason play.

Come that following January, Beltre had done well to re-establish his value as one of the better third baseman in baseball after turbulent times in Los Angeles and Seattle, eventually cashing in by agreeing to a six-year deal with the Texas Rangers worth $96 million, or $16 million per season.

Because the Red Sox offered the Dominican Republic native a qualifying offer prior to his departure to Texas, the club was rewarded with two compensation picks in that year’s amateur draft. Two picks that fell in the top 40.

So, after selecting University of Connecticut right-hander Matt Barnes with their first and own pick at No. 19, Theo Epstein and Co. made the choice to go with a promising high school catcher out of Rio Rancho, New Mexico in Blake Swihart with their first of the two Beltre compensation picks at No. 26.

This move may have raised eyebrows at the time, as Swihart was locked in on playing college baseball at the University of Texas at Austin, but by offering a signing bonus of $2.5 million, they convinced the 19-year-old to sign.

Fast forward to later in the first round, with high school southpaw Henry Owens already drafted with the 36th overall pick, and the Sox made a statement with their second and final Beltre pick.

Yes, with the 40th overall selection, Boston selected University of South Carolina outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.

Both Bradley Jr. and Swihart experienced their growing pains upon their promotions to the majors in April 2013 and May 2015 respectively, but to land the quality of prospects the Red Sox did for losing to Beltre to free agency was quite the accomplishment.

Think about it like this: for one season of Beltre, the Red Sox in turn received one of the best catching prospects in the game in Swihart, and one of the best outfield prospects in Bradley Jr.

Currently, it’s more like Boston acquired one of the best defensive center fielders in the American League in Bradley Jr. and, after trading Swihart to Arizona last April, outfield prospect Marcus Wilson.

That may sound a bit confusing, but in short, it was not a terrible trade-off despite Beltre going on to have a Hall of Fame career with the Rangers.

Also, I highly recommend reading Homegrown by The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier if you haven’t already. A quality read for any baseball fan.