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General Managers meetings: Ben Cherington talks Jason Bay, hitting coaches, search for outfielders

Posted By Rob Bradford On November 7, 2012 @ 9:44 pm In General | 17 Comments

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Ben Cherington

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – The General Managers meetings often times result in offseason transactions. It’s just that it almost always takes some time after the executives leave the two-day event for anything to come to fruition.

Wednesday at the Hyatt, the process of laying offseason foundations began, with Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington joining the fray with the usual series of get-togethers with other GMs and agents.

In the midst of the meetings Cherington and the other general managers broke off for a brief interview session with the attending media. Here is what the Red Sox GM had to report:

REGARDING ANY POTENTIAL INTEREST IN FREE AGENT JASON BAY

Certainly surprised it didn’t go better for him in New York. He’s a terrific guy, and he he’s been a great for a long time so I expected him to do well. I don’t know the particulars of why it didn’t work out, but I have a lot or respect for him and hopefully he will find a better situation. … We haven’t talked about it yet. We can’t rule anything out.

ON INTEREST IN TORII HUNTER (OR OTHER FREE AGENT OUTFIELDERS)

I would say if there’s an area of the free agent class that’s a little bit deeper, it’s probably in the outfield. We’ve talked to a lot of those guys, or at least the agents of a lot of those guys. It’s probably still a little bit of a feeling out period for both the players and the teams. We’ll see how it moves forward, but we’ve been in contact a number of outfielders.

TARGET TWO OUTFIELDERS IN OFFSEASON?

Probably. Maybe it’s through trade. Maybe it’s through free agency, but it’s definitely something we need to add.

ON MULTIPLE HITTING COACHES

We are considering a two-man system. It depends a bit on who the first guy is, and then if the right complement is there, someone we’d consider — there’s pros and cons to both approaches. Depending on who the people are, we see some benefit to having two people. It’s a big job, trying to give appropriate attention to all 13 position players on the team, and requires a lot of time, and it’s something we’re considering.

ON HOW SUCH A SYSTEM CAN WORK

They ought to complement each other, certainly. There ought to be some philosophical alignment but perhaps some different personality, background. … I think both ways can work. It’s just that there’s some guys — Mags is one of them — that can do a good job on their own, basically on their own. It’s a big job, so we’ll see where it goes.

WHAT LOOKED FOR A PITCHING COACH (HAVING HIRED JUAN NIEVES)

Certain traits and philosophical leanings that we were looking for — we need to get to being a more aggressive pitching staff, attacking the strike zone. But there’s things that need to happen to a pitcher before you get to that as far as delivery and mental approach, and we thought Juan brought a good program to the table. Also, we wanted a strong voice with some conviction. I know that’s something that John wanted, given his experience as a pitching coach. He wanted someone who’s going to have a strong voice that’s going to stand up to him. John wants to be able to be able to empower a pitching coach and not just have an assistant. That was something we felt Juan could do. …

One of the things we liked about his presentation was that it was really an individualized presentation. Not everything works for every guy. There are times that probably a quicker tempo is a benefit. We saw it with [Felix] Doubront late in the year. Our staff made the adjustment with him about his tempo, and he saw some benefit in his last couple of starts. It’s case by case. That’s one of the things set out in the interview with Juan, that he can take an individualized approach with each guy.

ON TRADE TALKS

We’ve had more talks. I wouldn’t say we’ve furthered anything, but we’ve talked more. It’s still probably a little bit early on in the trade stuff to really do that, but we’ll continue discussions. … Nothing surprised me.


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