Boston Red Sox

Why Ortiz believes Breslow will succeed in Red Sox front office

David Ortiz and Craig Breslow played together in Boston for five seasons.

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A self-aware Craig Breslow shared a strong message while being introduced as the Boston Red Sox' new chief baseball officer last month.

"I understand that some of you will see me as another Ivy League nerd with a baseball front office job," he told reporters. "It's true. I am that. But I'm also a 13-year big-leaguer and a 2013 Boston Red Sox World Series champion, and I know what it takes to win here."

The Yale graduate was dubbed "the smartest man in baseball" during his playing days. He's held on to that reputation in his post-MLB career, excelling as the Chicago Cubs' assistant general manager/vice president of pitching before replacing Chaim Bloom in Boston.

While Breslow's résumé is impressive, it's fair to have reservations about him leading the Red Sox front office. The 43-year-old has minimal experience negotiating with free agents, working out trades, and making the personnel decisions that come with being the chief baseball officer. Plus, there's the worry that his "Ivy League nerd" approach will be hyperfocused on analytics and make him disconnected from the clubhouse.

David Ortiz, Breslow's Red Sox teammate in 2006 and 2012-15, doesn't see that become an issue. Big Papi was asked during an exclusive interview with our John Tomase whether he expects Breslow to be a "nerd" GM or a "jock" GM.

"I think he's going to be a little bit of both," Ortiz answered. "He's smart. Being a nerd is not bad at that position. But also, he has been in the clubhouse many times. He played in an era that we were winning. He knows what it takes to win. He knows that the pitching staff needs to be there. He wasn't the guy that had the best stuff but the one thing that he had was pelotas. He knew how to use his pelotas at the time and the stuff that he had to get batters out. He knows what it takes.

"So I want to wish him the best of luck. Hopefully, he'll go back into that mojo that we had back in those days. He knows that Boston fans, they always expect us to deliver it. You cannot get that wrong. You need to have the right idea about how to handle business in Boston so you can make people happy. But the most important thing about Craig is that he cares about the Red Sox."

Unlike Bloom, who also graduated from Yale and was analytically driven, Breslow brings a big-league pedigree. He played a major role during the Red Sox' 2013 World Series run, posting a 1.81 ERA and 1.12 WHIP through 61 appearances out of the bullpen that season. He finished his career with a 3.45 ERA in 576 games (570.2 innings).

Breslow will be able to connect with players in a way Bloom did not. If he brings some of the mentality he had as a player into his new front-office role, he should be more aggressive in attempting to improve the roster than his predecessor was. That should be enough to give Red Sox fans an optimistic outlook on the future of the franchise.

It's been a quiet offseason for the Red Sox thus far, but rumor has it they're looking to "do something big." Breslow will have a chance to make some significant moves during the Winter Meetings, which run from Sunday, Dec. 3 through Wednesday, Dec. 6.

Watch the full David Ortiz interview - which includes his thoughts on the Juan Soto-to-Yankees rumors, Tim Wakefield's legacy, and more - below.

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