Pedro Martinez has some advice for Chaim Bloom

Rob Bradford
October 29, 2019 - 7:38 am
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Pedro Martinez has seen his fair share of general managers, first as a player and then as a member of the front office, himself.

At this point, he has a pretty fair idea of what makes a good one.

"A good GM, the first thing I’m going to tell you is being able to connect with the players in a good way," Martinez said when appearing on the Bradfo Sho podcast. "Being able to be approachable by the entire staff. Not just the players. Not just the baseball operations system. But management. Good relationship with management. A good connection to the players and the managers and the coaches. I think a good GM will be someone who treats everybody equal and respects everybody from the clubbies to the president of the team or the top owner of the team. Someone who is respectful to everybody and treats everybody equal and has a good connection with the entire organization would be a good GM."

But there is also one piece of the job which Martinez offers a particular warning about. That is having to negotiate a big-time contract with a big-time player.

The task facing new Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom is made appreciably more complicated because of Mookie Betts' contract situation. The Red Sox outfielder is heading into the last year of his contract, scheduled to make just shy of $30 million for 2020 in arbitration if no extension is reached.

It is a conundrum Martinez has experienced first-hand with the Red Sox, trying to negotiate a new deal with the team just prior to the 2003 season.

"The thing is that some of us can get confused when you see too many voices," he said. "When you hear too many voices around. When you have too many people interacting with you. I think what you have to do is balance the way you communicate the players, the way you approach the players, the way you invade their space. You have to understand when to go and when not to go. When a player is willing to hear what you have to say and when they’re not. That’s why you have people like me between me and the players so we can actually pinpoint those moments it’s a good moment for a GM to approach the players or discuss contracts or talk business or whatever because most of the players want to look good. Nobody wants to go in front of 60,000 people and look bad. They are really picky with the way they prepare and all that. You have to understand when they’re mentally preparing for the work or whatever it’s not a good time to approach them with the other stuff and take time away from preparing.

"I just hope we don’t have any distractions when it comes to contracts and we find a way to do it in a very professional and quiet way whenever we have to go through those situations I went through with Theo (Epstein) and (Larry) Lucchino and Mr. (John) Henry. I wished I was just talking to one person and that person would keep it quiet whether we agreed or not until we finally find a way out. But too many voices and too many people saying, ‘This deal is about to be closed.’ Another front office said this … I don’t agree with those things. Think we should just find a balance, negotiate when it’s right, talk to the players when it's right, go in the clubhouse when it’s right, but figure it out. Really figure it out when is the proper moment to do those things, each one of them."

The perspective Martinez offers is an intriguing one, particularly since he took his current role in the Red Sox' front office.

"I’ve been around a few good GMs and the most recent one was Dave Dombrowski," he said. "I wanted to be a shadow to Dave Dombrowski and I’m glad and very thankful he allowed me the opportunity to shadow him for a few years. I had a great experience. Not only that but I played the game, I understand the players, I’ve been around the players and I experienced it in my own way. So I’m fully aware of what might go on or what might show up between a player and the GM in an organization. I’ve been with Boston for a long, long time and I have taken time to analyze what goes on."

So, would the Hall of Famer ever want to dip his toes in the GM job pool?

"Not as of now," Martinez said. "It hasn’t come across my mind. At first when I joined the organization I thought about it but then I realized why I retired. I retired because I wanted to be around my family. I wanted to have time with my family. I wanted to be a regular man, something I wasn’t able to be when I was playing in baseball. I realized how much work it takes to do that. I’m going to continue to learn. I don’t know where the future will land me. I will continue to learn and get prepared just in case I find myself in the position to do it and hopefully I’ll do it the right way."