SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Will the Red Sox trade Mookie Betts? Or can they sign him to an extension?
Those two questions loomed large in the baseball industry as the General Managers Meetings started on Monday.
Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom continues to do his due diligence when it comes to Betts and won’t rush into anything.
For sure, it would be easier for Bloom and Boston’s front office to chart a path if they had a better idea of their chances of extending the star right fielder's contract, which expires after the 2020 season. But Bloom doesn’t feel any pressure to know the answer to that right away.
“The more clarity you have on that, the better off you are, but I don’t think it’s an end-all, be-all, especially at this time of the offseason,” said Bloom.
Bloom did see some of the representatives for Betts on Monday, and they exchanged pleasantries, but Bloom made it clear nothing should be read into that.
“We’re going to talk with a lot of different agents while we’re here. They will certainly be no exception, we talk to them all the time,” Bloom said.
The only reason the Red Sox would even be entertaining thoughts of trading Betts at this point is because ownership has a goal -- not a mandate -- of getting the team payroll below the first luxury-tax threshold of $208 million. Boston had a $240 million payroll last season and didn’t make the postseason.
With J.D. Martinez choosing not to opt out of his contract, it increased speculation that the Sox might deal Betts.
But Bloom could instead pare down his payroll by trading a high-priced pitcher such as David Price or center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., who is expected to earn roughly $11 million next season in his final year of arbitration eligibility.
Bloom doesn’t have an order or priorities when it comes to what is clearly an intriguing offseason for the Red Sox.
“You know, this offseason in particular, I don’t think so. Just because I think it’s our job to create as many options as we can and to look at a lot of different paths for us to go forward,” Bloom said. “Just to make sure we are really surveying the landscape the best way to go forward and make the future of the Red Sox as good as it can be.
“So I think to put things in priority order would be limiting. Obviously at some point, you start picking paths and that will maybe define some of what happens next. At this stage, no, I don’t think it makes sense to try to impose an order on the particular things we might be able to do.”