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Athletics non-tender reliever Blake Treinen after down 2019

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Chaim Bloom brings change to Red Sox despite lack of moves

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SAN DIEGO — The Boston Red Sox came and left the 2019 winter meetings with the foundation of their roster unchanged. Despite the unending discussions among fans for months about the future of outfielder Mookie Betts, the team’s best player remains slotted in to roam right field at Fenway Park. Despite inquiries from other teams, as reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan, David Price and his hefty contract (three years, $96 million) remain on the books. For all of the talk about a messy offseason requiring lots of creative roster management, Boston has remained quiet so far.

But the lack of player movement isn’t indicative of the growing change within the Red Sox front office. Based on conversations with multiple executives around baseball and staffers within Fenway Park, newly minted chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom is establishing his vision for the baseball operations department. Bloom entered an organization that features front office mainstays such as general manager Brian O’Halloran and the trio of executive VPs/assistant general managers Raquel Ferreira, Eddie Romero and Zack Scott, all of whom have spent more than a decade with the team and recently signed contract extensions. Manager Alex Cora said the transition has been smooth.

“It’s been good. Like I said a few weeks ago, had the pleasure with Dave [Dombrowski, Bloom’s predecessor]. You know, Dave has been in the business for, what, 40 years,” Cora said. “You’re in the business for 40 years, you’re not lucky — you’re good. Chaim, who’s, what, 36? It seems like he’s been in the business for 20 years.”

Many around Fenway Park have noticed an immediate cultural change within the baseball ops department with Bloom in charge. While Dombrowski mostly relied on the opinions of veteran executives Tony La Russa and Frank Wren, shutting much of the rest of the department out of the decision-making process, Bloom has sought advice from a much wider circle in seeking creative solutions to the team’s goal to cut payroll and sneak under the $208 million luxury tax threshold. Several Red Sox staffers noted a happier working environment, in which baseball ops people up and down the organization’s ladder feel their opinions are valued, a feeling that slowly evaporated over the course of Dombrowski’s tenure.

“[Bloom] is basically the direct opposite of Dombrowski,” according to one rival front-office executive.

Sure, sure, sure, it’s easy to sing praises at the beginning of a new tenure, when the rosy-eyed honeymoon period is still intact, especially when Bloom has yet to make any major roster moves. But the praise for Bloom extends down to Tampa Bay, where he built an unusually positive reputation among other front-office executives. Those who spent significant time around the Rays noted his strong people skills, something Bloom says he is always working on, and his ability to connect with people from the front office to the clubhouse to the media.

“It’s super important to me. The reason we were able to have the success [at Tampa Bay] that we did was the people and how we all worked together,” Bloom told ESPN. “I hope that an appreciation has something to do with how I was raised both by my parents and then also how I was raised in this game with the people I was around. The value of that was something that was shown to me by a lot of the mentors around this game.

“You just see how much more you can accomplish when people work together when they feel valued, when everyone recognizes that no one person has a monopoly on the truth and nobody has all the answers. We are only going to achieve our full potential if we’re willing to work together and willing to be vulnerable and acknowledge that we can all learn from each other.”

Bloom’s influence will extend onto the field, given his fundamental role in normalizing the shift and the opener among the Rays’ various innovations over the course of the past decade. Cora noted in his winter meetings press conference that he and Bloom see the game from a similar perspective.

“One thing we’re going to talk about with Chaim coming from an organization that’s very aggressive as far as defense, is why they do it, how they do it and if that aggressiveness is going to — he can help us out,” Cora said. “And that’s something that I’m looking forward to sitting with Chaim and see where it takes us.”

But Bloom doesn’t intend to turn the Red Sox into Tampa Bay 2.0, though Cora noted that using an opener instead of a regular fifth starter is an option for the team heading into 2020. Different circumstances demand different approaches; and the vast financial resources, the rabid Red Sox fan base and a demanding media market — from sports radio to the newspapers — separates Boston from the situation at Tampa Bay and has led to Bloom adapting his approach for his new work environment.

“There’s nothing that I want to bring that’s like, ‘This is the way the Rays did it or do it.’ But that’s actually something that in a lot of the times we’ve been around each other that [Cora] and I have talked about. I know that he’s very passionate about being able to use information to put players in the best position to succeed. What that means specifically, that’s where the rubber meets the road.

“There’s a lot of room to see that differently, but it also needs to be based around the strengths of your own players and the tendencies of the opposition, but that’s something that we already talked about, and I don’t want to predict if it will be more or less.”

According to multiple sources, Bloom’s focus is less on creating a top-heavy roster than on building more depth at both the major and minor league level, valuing versatility. Thursday’s signing of Jose Peraza illuminates some of what Bloom values in a player: someone who can play multiple positions and has shown the ability to make an impact with the bat. Peraza hit .288/.326/.416 in 157 games in 2018 before dropping off to .239/.285/.346 in 141 games in 2019. Peraza reportedly signed for about $3 million, less than what Brock Holt will likely make on the open market after hitting .297/.369/.402 in 87 games.

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Rob Manfred trying to iron out minor league discord, issues with union

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Manfred: Skaggs’ death a motivating factor for opioid testing (0:54)

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred explains how the death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs was a motivating factor to reach an agreement for opioid testing, which Manfred says will be a real improvement for the industry. (0:54)

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Ex-Reds infielder Jose Peraza agrees to join Red Sox

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The Red Sox have agreed to a one-year deal with free-agent infielder Jose Peraza, according to a report Thursday by Robert Murray.

Peraza likely will fill a utility spot for a Boston team that isn’t expected to bring back free agent Brock Holt.

The 25-year-old Peraza spent the past four seasons with the Reds. Known for his good eye at the plate, he hit .288 with 85 runs scored, 14 home runs and 23 steals in 2018, but those numbers dipped some this past season, when he posted a .239-37-6-7 line.

He was nontendered by the Reds earlier this month.

Peraza will bring versatility to the Red Sox’s defense. Since breaking into the big leagues in 2015, he’s played at least five games at every non-pitching position but first base, right field and catcher.

MLB Network reported that the deal is close to $3 million plus incentives.

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