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Ben Cherington: Blockbuster ‘was not a trade to fix a cultural problem’

08.25.12 at 8:51 pm ET


The widely held perception was that there was a cultural and chemistry problem in the Red Sox clubhouse prior to the blockbuster trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto to the Dodgers. That may very well have been the case but Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington made it very clear Saturday that wasn’t the reason he pulled the trigger on the franchising-changing deal.

“The culture will feel better when we start winning more games, this was about creating an opportunity to build a better team moving forward, it was not a trade that was made to try to fix a cultural problem,” Cherington said. “It was about opportunity, giving us opportunity moving forward. The culture will feel very good when we do the things that have made us good over time, things that help us win games. When we do those things, the culture will feel good.”

Since Sept. 1, 2011, the Red Sox were 67-86 entering Saturday. To Cherington, that’s the only stat that mattered.

“The bottom line is that we haven’t won enough games,” Cherington said. “That goes back to last September. We haven’t performed on the field as a team. We’ve had individuals perform and this is not about the four players we gave up, anything they did particularly wrong. We just haven’t performed as a team when we needed to. As we looked at, we felt that in order to get to a team that we believe in, a team that our fans deserve, a team that is a winner and sustains winning year after year, it was going to take more than cosmetic changes. It was going to take something more bold and then it was up to us to go take advantage of that opportunity, execute and go make good decisions. Again, a lot of things go into winning. The roster is part of it. Personnel on the roster is part of it. This is a significant step towards giving us a chance to reshape what the roster looks like.”

When you clear over $260 million in future committed payroll, Cherington realizes you need the work of ownership. Cherington was quick to thank owner John Henry, Larry Lucchino and Tom Werner for working with Magic Johnson and the new baseball ownership group with the Dodgers.

“In any deal, as I think you all know, ownership is involved and it’s a collaborative process,” Cherington said. “Certainly on a deal this big, it required a real team effort. John, Tom and Larry were all heavily involved. They all had a specific role in this over the last several days. There were conversations at the ownership level between the two teams, certainly between myself and Ned. And then a lot of conversations in between, between myself, John, Tom, and Larry.

“It was a true team effort, and we worked together to pull of a trade that we feel is the right thing for the franchise right now and gives us an opportunity going forward.”

Cherington promised fans that the commitment to fielding a winning team is still there.

‘€œIt’€™s pretty easy to look at our performance on the field and recognize that it’€™s not good enough,I think that’€™s where it all starts,” Cherington said. “That’€™s where the evaluation starts. The great thing about this game is you have a sort of tangible answer every night of how good you are and this year we’€™ve been not good enough on too many nights. It starts there and that part is pretty easy. What leads to that, trying to figure out what causes that, yeah, that can be more difficult. Part of it’€™s the player/personnel, the roster; part of it’€™s other things. We need to examine all of it. Again, it’€™s on us. This is part of what gives us an opportunity, this trade, but it’€™s on us to examine all areas and make sure that we are building a team and a standard that we’€™ve come to expect, the guys here deserve and the fans deserve.’€

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