Breslow gets to work at 'frenetic' first day of GM Meetings

November 8th, 2023

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- For recently hired Red Sox chief baseball officer Craig Breslow, Tuesday’s Day 1 of the GM Meetings represented a key glimpse into his new life.

“I’m super excited,” Breslow said. “There’s work to do. I feel like this is kind of a milestone day in terms of being able to kick those things off and get a chance to interact with other team executives, with agents, with our own staff.”

Though he is new to his job, Breslow knows this isn’t the time to soak it in.

“Frenetic,” Breslow said of his pace at the GM Meetings. “Good, good, really productive. I’m excited, because I feel like now that a lot of logistics and formalities are through, we can get to work.”

One thing the Red Sox are getting to work on immediately is improving the starting rotation, which is by far the team’s top priority.

MLB Network insider Jon Paul Morosi reported that the Sox met in Scottsdale with representatives of one of the top starting pitchers on the market, lefty Jordan Montgomery.

Montgomery isn’t as hyped as Japanese sensation Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who will soon be posted and become a free agent. He doesn’t have quite the same cache as Aaron Nola, Blake Snell or Sonny Gray. But the 30-year-old figures to be an important starter for any rotation.

The lefty was traded from the Cardinals to the Rangers on Aug. 2 and was a key factor for a Texas team that won the World Series.

Breslow wouldn’t say how many starters he is targeting to improve Boston’s rotation.

“I think we need to be open-minded,” Breslow said. “You know, like I said last week, starting pitching is certainly a priority for us, but to kind of try and forecast an exact number or anything kind of more specific than that probably doesn’t make sense.”

Here are some other takeaways from Breslow’s Tuesday chat with the media.

Impact of qualifying offers?

There have been certain Hot Stove seasons in which the Red Sox were hesitant to engage with free agents who received qualifying offers, because that would entail Draft penalties.

This appears to be a winter in which the club will be more open-minded about that.

Of the seven players who received QOs on Monday, there are four who could be on Boston’s wish list in the coming weeks in Shohei Ohtani, Gray, Nola and Snell.

“It's a consideration like the host of other variables that you need to consider when you make a decision around these players,” Breslow said. “I think we need to look at the totality of the situation in order to figure out how much of a consequence it is.

"It’s difficult for me to speak to how things have gone historically. What I can say is we are looking at ways to improve the team in 2024 and beyond, if that kind of moves us in a direction where we're evaluating the QO against certain players, we're prepared to do that.”

Hiring new pitching coach top priority

While player acquisitions tend to rule the day this time of year, Breslow knows that hiring a new pitching coach is nearly as important. The Red Sox relieved Dave Bush of his duties on Oct. 9.

“Offseason days are precious, just given how productive they can be in terms of development for our players,” said Breslow. “Every day that our pitching staff doesn't have a pitching coach in my mind is a bit of a lost opportunity. I do think that it's important to prioritize filling those vacancies.”

How many candidates are the Red Sox looking at?

“Kind of in the widest net, a good number,” Breslow said. “But my expectation is we can whittle that down pretty quickly.”

One candidate to keep an eye on is Andrew Bailey, Breslow’s former teammate and close friend. Bailey is currently the pitching coach for the Giants. But with Bob Melvin taking over for Gabe Kapler as manager of the Giants, Bailey could become available to Boston.

GM could come from the outside

Another key for Breslow will be hiring a general manager. While the Red Sox have a slew of internal candidates who have been with the organization for decades, this position has a chance to be filled externally.

“I think either is on the table,” Breslow said. “One thing that I saw in Chicago is that there is a lot of value in bringing in fresh perspectives and getting new ideas and infusing those into current systems. But I think it would be premature to think about that right now.”