FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The moves are flying fast and furious around MLB.
Kyle Schwarber, whose production and leadership helped vault the Red Sox to Game 6 of the American League Championship Series last season, appears headed to the Phillies.
And those are just some of the most recent moves in what has been a whirlwind few days since the lockout ended.
Red Sox fans are getting antsy to see what chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom has in store. So far, the moves have been subtle in the form of two lefty relievers (Jake Diekman and Matt Strahm).
Is something bigger coming?
“I'm actually glad you asked that, because I want to be able to take our fans behind the curtain,” said Bloom. “When you start looking at it that way, that's when you get in trouble. The important thing is to focus on what you're doing, not to focus on what everybody else is doing, and not to focus on what kind of splash you might be able to make.
“I think it's really important for us not to get distracted by those things and focus on, ‘What are the opportunities that makes sense for us?’ Not to start chasing things. If you chase things, you can turn good opportunities into bad opportunities, and put yourself in a position not to be able to take the next good opportunity.
“So we're kind of looking at it that way, trying to stay focused on chasing down the things that make sense for us. Some of them are things people might expect, some of them are things they might not expect. And I don't know, in terms of timing, or in terms of when or what will happen just yet. But you know, I think the important thing is not to get too distracted by all that stuff.”
This isn’t to say the Sox won’t do something big. They continue to be linked to first baseman Freddie Freeman, one of the biggest prizes left in free agency.
“I think it's fair to assume if there's talent out there, we're going to have interest in that talent,” Bloom said, while declining to get into specific names.
While the Red Sox kept tabs on Schwarber throughout the offseason, Bloom just didn’t think it made good business sense to retain him.
“I don't need to tell you guys what he did here, what he meant here, how he fit here,” said Bloom. “We stayed in touch with him the whole way. Just ultimately, you want to make sure it actually aligns in terms of price, with other things that you might be able to do not just now, but over the course of the whole time you might have him.”
According to reports, Schwarber’s deal with Philadelphia is for four years at $79 million.
“Ultimately, we just thought it was to a level that didn't make sense, as much as we love him, and we do,” said Bloom. “In such a short time, he became such an incredible part of this team, so beloved in the region, and a great fit.”
The way it projects, Bobby Dalbec will be the everyday first baseman. He held that post last year until Schwarber entered the lineup in mid-August.
“We were really good before him, too,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. “At one point, we were the best team in the big leagues. We were very good offensively. Obviously what he brings to the table, he added to what we have. We have some guys that found their identity in August, September and October, and we hope they can carry that into this season. But with all due respect to Kyle, we were a good team [before].”
Cora sounded as patient with Bloom about the free-agent and trade markets.
“Like I told the group yesterday and I’ve been telling everybody in the organization, it’s not a sprint,” Cora said. “We’ve been through situations before when people sign late and they ended up contributing to help their teams win. I think this year is going to be the same. Somebody is going to be there who is a good player, and most likely he’s not going to be on the Opening Day roster for somebody. So I think patience is very important.
“We can’t react to what other teams are doing. We still play in the toughest division in baseball. We’ve got four teams capable of winning 90-plus games and another one that is building the program, just like last year. We’re prepared for what is coming, but from my end it’s fun to watch, to read Twitter. I think it’s good for baseball.”