fb-pixel Skip to main content

Here is Chaim Bloom’s reaction to Gerrit Cole signing with the Yankees

Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom knows the in the AL East you have to expect your rivals to get better.FILE/MATT YORK/ASSOCIATED PRESS/Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — Gerrit Cole signing with the Yankees sparked a number of reactions from inside the Grand Hyatt Hotel late Tuesday evening.

Baseball’s hot stove reached its peak with the righthander agreeing to a record nine-year, $324 million deal. Yankees manager Aaron Boone had extra pep in his step as he made his way through the lobby. After all, his club is now unquestionably the favorite to win the World Series.

Reactions were a part of the evening, but for Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, those reactions won’t alter his team’s process this offseason.

“He’s a really good pitcher,” Bloom said Wednesday afternoon. “I’ve been in this division for a long time. I think you expect — especially in our division — you expect that your rivals are going to be really good. You expect that they are going to make moves that are going to make them really good.”

Nothing has changed for the Sox. They are taking this offseason slowly with the goal of getting under the luxury tax. The meetings this week are indicative of Bloom and his team’s calculated approach. Yet the market moving quicker than it did last offseason has brought everything into focus a bit more.


“I think you can see the conversations kind of progressing,” Bloom said. “Obviously, the more guys go off the board, the more it narrows what every team is looking to do, what every team is able to do both for the teams that make those moves and the other teams that weren’t involved.

Market watch

The first two days of the Winter Meetings produced record contracts for pitchers. Stephen Strasburg shattered David Price’s record with the seven-year, $245 million contract he signed on Monday to remain with the Nationals. Then, Cole followed with his own earth-shattering contract, which brings more cash annually ($36 million) than Mike Trout ($35.45 million) did last year with his 12-year deal with the Angels.


After seeing some of the recent deals signed by other stars, Mookie Betts has to be pretty excited about his future.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

If you’re Mookie Betts, you have to feel even more at peace with not agreeing yet to an extension with the Red Sox, considering the money being given to Strasburg and Cole, who aren’t position players. Bloom knows the market being established for star pitchers can create a difficult negotiating process when it comes to star positions players.

“We know that players and agents are obviously very aware of the market,” he said. “We all look at the market and try to see what we can infer from it and what that means for everybody else. But I wouldn’t draw conclusions necessarily about what that means on the relative value of pitchers and position players. Most of those commitments reflect the esteem that clubs have for those players. In the case of those two guys [Strasburg and Cole], just how important they felt that starting pitching was to them.”

Whatever the Red Sox decide to do, it seems as though Betts is set on hitting the open market in free agency next offseason. But Bloom didn’t rule out an extension.

“Obviously, over the course of time there have been a lot of conversations,” he said. “Just because those conversations haven’t resulted in a deal, I don’t think it’s fair to say that he hasn’t been open to it.”

Results are in

A committee of scientists who studied the 2019 home run surge determined that the cause was divided between decreased drag on the baseball (roughly 60 percent of the increase) and changes in offensive approach, with more players looking to launch balls (40 percent).


Decreased seam height, the committee concluded, explained roughly 35 percent of the diminished drag that allowed baseballs to fly farther. However, the causes of the other 65 percent of the year-to-year change in drag had not been identified conclusively.

“A baseball is actually a rather complicated object,” said committee chair Alan Nathan.

The committee found no evidence of intentional changes to the manufacture of the baseball that contributed to conditions in 2019 where seemingly every ball hit in the air during the regular season seemed like a threat to fly over fences.

“We have never been asked to juice or de-juice a baseball, and we’ve never done anything of the sort, never would on our own,” said Rawlings CEO and president Michael Zlaket. “There’s always going to be some inconsistency in the product. It’s created by the fact that it’s natural materials, and the production process has a lot of manual steps, but I’m confident that we have always done it, and we will always do it better than anybody else in the world.”

Still, the conclusion that — even without a change in the manufacturing process — handmade baseballs made from natural materials can behave in very different ways from year to year and even from one baseball to another is jarring. After all, what a ball does in flight can have a significant impact on players either dramatically exceeding or underperforming their projections.


“I think generally, the notion that we might have studied something and come away feeling like we have a valuable takeaway but we still don’t understand a lot of it, I think kind of sums up just about everything we do,” said Bloom. “Whether we’d like to admit it or not, there’s a lot about this game that we don’t know. I think there always will be. Our job is just to continue trying to make forward progress and learning as much as we can about it and recognizing that there’s a lot of things that we don’t know, attacking our jobs with the appropriate humility that comes with that.”

Alex Speier of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Julian McWilliams can be reached at julian.mcwilliams@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @byjulianmack.