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Sox leave Meetings with decisions to make

@IanMBrowne
December 16, 2019

SAN DIEGO -- For the Red Sox, there was a lot of dialogue at the Winter Meetings and just a little bit of action, with the club agreeing to one-year contracts with lefty starter Martin Pérez ($6 million plus a $6.25 million option in 2021) and infielder José Peraza ($3

SAN DIEGO -- For the Red Sox, there was a lot of dialogue at the Winter Meetings and just a little bit of action, with the club agreeing to one-year contracts with lefty starter Martin Pérez ($6 million plus a $6.25 million option in 2021) and infielder José Peraza ($3 million). Both pacts have yet to be announced by the club, but were confirmed by MLB.com's Mark Feinsand.

All in all, it was a productive few days for new chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom as he looks to tweak the roster this winter.

"There has been a ton of conversation," Bloom said. "I think it's hard to handicap exactly what the pace of those will be and if and when any of those will turn into some kind of news. You can see around the industry the pace has picked up. That's been reflective in the amount of the conversations that we've been having."

Without question, there will be more moves coming for the Red Sox, and some of them will involve shedding payroll. By now, it is well-documented that ownership would like Bloom to get the club's payroll below the Competitive Balance Tax threshold of $208 million. The club's CBT payroll currently stands at approximately $234 million, meaning the Red Sox would need to shed roughly $26 million in order to accomplish the goal.

The Red Sox have discussed trading David Price to a handful of teams. It doesn't seem likely Boston will trade star player Mookie Betts as he enters the final season of his contract, but nothing can be ruled out in this unpredictable offseason.

BIGGEST REMAINING NEEDS

1. Pitching: Even after the deal with Perez, who essentially replaces Rick Porcello in the rotation, Bloom is still going to be on the hunt for more arms. It will become an even bigger priority if Price gets traded. Brandon Workman, Matt Barnes, Josh Taylor and Darwinzon Hernandez are all back in the bullpen, but Boston could use some additional relief help.

2. First base: Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce are both free agents, and the latter is likely to retire. Two young players -- Michael Chavis and prospect Bobby Dalbec -- are both in the mix to earn playing time, along with Peraza. Chavis can also play second. Don't be surprised if the Sox add a left-handed bat to add to that equation. Travis Shaw, who was recently non-tendered by the Brewers, is an intriguing option to return to the Red Sox, who drafted and developed the infielder before dealing him three years ago.

3. Catcher: Sandy León was recently traded to the Indians, meaning the Sox still need a backup for Christian Vázquez. There are a lot of backup catchers on the market, so there is no cause for concern about getting this spot filled. The expectation is that the Sox will prioritize defense for their backup.

RULE 5 DRAFT

The Red Sox created more competition for their utility infield spot with the selection of Jonathan Arauz from the Astros with the 10th pick in the Rule 5 Draft. The switch-hitter from Panama can play second, short and third.

The Sox were also active in the Triple-A portion of the Rule 5 Draft, taking righty Raynel Espinal from the Yankees' Double-A affiliate, as well as right-handed pitcher Jose Espada from the Blue Jays' Double-A affiliate. Boston didn't lose any players in either phase of the Rule 5 Draft.

GM'S BOTTOM LINE

"You know, I think you can see the conversations kind of progressing. Obviously, the more guys go off the board, the more it narrows, I think, what every team is looking to do, what every team is able to do -- both for the teams that make those moves and then for other teams that weren't involved. I don't think there's been a seismic shift. But I think as you see, more and more things happen, it, just, for everybody, kind of closes some doors." -- Bloom, on how early movement on pitching market could impact the pace of the offseason

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.