Bloom, Sox getting to work 'right away' on Bogaerts contract

October 6th, 2022

BOSTON -- There is no easing into this offseason for the Red Sox, who fell well short of expectations by finishing in last place in the American League East with a 78-84 record.

In fact, the brass that spoke to the media on Wednesday, which included president and CEO Sam Kennedy, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, general manager Brian O’Halloran and manager Alex Cora, planned to start with strategy meetings as soon as the press conference ended.

The first order of business in what should be one of the most important and busiest offseasons in recent memory for the Red Sox is to do everything it takes to try to extend .

“Until we get to after the World Series, there's a lot of other things we can plan for and not do,” Bloom said. “[Extending Bogaerts] is something we can work on right away.”

The star shortstop has an opt-out from the final three years of his contract, which he is sure to exercise so he can be paid like other top players at his position.

That is, unless the Red Sox can come to an agreement with their veteran leader on some type of a restructured deal before free agency starts the day after the World Series.

“I don’t ever want to make public any of the blow by blow. But what I can say is this: That process is going to start right away from our end,” Bloom said. “Obviously we know we haven’t found that path yet. We still want to, and we’re going to work really hard at it.”

There is also the matter of an extension for third baseman , who still has a year left until free agency. In the winter before the 2020 season, the Sox felt they had no choice but to trade Mookie Betts when he was similarly entering his walk year.

Bloom says things are different with Devers, given where the Red Sox are as an organization. In fact, he all but assured Devers will be with Boston for ’23, even if an extension isn’t finalized this offseason.

“He's hugely important to what we're doing. We hope he's here not just next year, but in the years to come,” Bloom said. “I think we're in a position now that we expect and fully intend to go out and put a really good team on the field and win next year. That's really important. And I don't see how it would make life easier for ourselves by him not being a part of that, to say nothing of the years to come.

“He is one of the best players in the game. He has shown the ability to perform on the biggest stages and to do it here, and he is someone we want to build around.”

While solidifying the futures of Bogaerts and Devers would certainly make fans feel better about the direction of the organization, there is far more to do in order for the club to vault back to becoming a top team.

“It’s going to be a challenge, but that’s part of what’s going to make it exciting,” Bloom said. “Unfortunately, because of the way the season went, we’ve had some time to think about it. In thinking about it, that’s made me more excited to tackle it and tackle it with this group here. It’s going to be exciting to go after it to do the job.”

There has been a boom-or-bust component to the Red Sox over the last 11 seasons (five last-place finishes, two World Series titles, four division titles). While that inconsistency is unfortunate, especially considering the club’s resources, Boston has been adept at turning things around quickly.

“Finishing in last place is brutal, certainly not what we set out to do,” Kennedy said. “You can dive into lots of detail into why each last-place finish occurred, but at a high level, where I sit, it's underperformance across the board. That starts with us. It's on us.

“When we finish in last place or when we win a World Series, the leadership of the organization is responsible for it, and so we've had underperformance this year and that's on us. We need to be better.”

To get back into contention, the Red Sox will need to shore up a pitching staff that finished 25th in the Majors in ERA. And though the offense was third in hits, the team’s rankings in home runs (20th) gave a clearer picture of a lack of power.

There are no shortcuts or quick fixes. Hot Stove season has already started in Boston.