BOSTON — Chaim Bloom has been enamored with Adam Duvall for a while. It likely started when the outfielder mashed three homers for the Braves in an empty Fenway Park during the 2020 season.
Duvall hit four homers for the visiting Braves during their three-game sweep of the Sox that late-August series. Less than a year later, Bloom tried to trade for Duvall before he ultimately landed back in Atlanta. Boston ended up with Kyle Schwarber, who worked out pretty well with the Red Sox on their march to the ALCS.
Bloom finally got his man this offseason, as Duvall officially signed a one-year deal with the Red Sox on Tuesday. Boston’s Chief Baseball Officer was pretty excited when announcing the move during his Zoom session with reporters.
“Very, very excited to have Adam on board here. He’s a player we’ve liked for a while,” Bloom boomed. “When we were in the recruitment process for him, I told him he was very much on our radar at the deadline in 2021. … He’s a guy whose skillset we’ve liked for a long time.”
Duvall said Wednesday that’s he’s happy to be on the Red Sox. Despite their last place finish in the AL East last season, Boston was a very appealing destination for the nine-year vet.
“There were several selling points. One, the opportunity to play every day and the chance to be part of an organization that has a lot of tradition, has had a lot of success, a lot of good players and a good manager,” said Duvall. “That was a huge selling point there. Another selling point was guys reaching out. From the team and around the organization, to let me know they were looking forward to playing with me. It all came together and was a culmination of different things. I couldn’t be more excited to be playing with the Red Sox and be a part of this ride.”
Bloom said that Duvall will primarily play center field for the Sox, which will allow Kiké Hernandez to move into the infield. Duvall has only played 71 games in center, compared to 544 in left field and 96 in right. But Bloom is confident that Duvall will be up to the challenge in Fenway Park’s cavernous center field.
“The biggest challenge will be the dimensions. I have even thought about going back and watching certain plays and how I can learn to play the ball off the wall, the ball in the gap, and those things before I even step foot in the stadium,” Duvall admitted Wednesday. “There will be a small learning curve there, because it’s a very unique park. But any way I can familiarize myself with it will be huge.”
Overall, there isn’t much Bloom doesn’t like about adding Duvall. He’s a plus-defender with some pop in his bat, and he seems to really like hitting at Fenway. He has six hits in his four games at the old ballyard, five of which went for extra bases. Four of those hits were homers.
“He loves hitting at Fenway. We’ve seen it way too much in other uniforms,” said Bloom. “Hopefully, he’ll love it just as much in our uniform.”
Duvall should add some power to the Boston lineup, something the team was missing after losing Trevor Story for the season. He’s two years removed from a 38-homer, 113-RBI season split between the Marlins and the Braves, when he led the National League in ribbies.
“The ability to change the game with one swing is something that he has,” Bloom said. “It’s the type of right-handed power that I think could play really well in this park. It’s true plus-power where he can mishit balls over the Monster, and he can drive balls out the other way.”
“I’ve been working on my swing all offseason and I’m excited to take what I got into that ballpark,” Duvall said Wednesday.
Duvall had a bit of a power outage last season, when a sprained right wrist limited him to just 86 games with Atlanta. He only hit 12 home runs before undergoing season-ending surgery.
Duvall said Wednesday that his wrist is 100 percent and he’ll be ready to go for Spring Training.
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