Larry Lucchino on D&C: Red Sox looking at Cuban pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez ‘pretty hard’
|07.25.13 at 10:05 am ET|
Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning. Within the significant topic of conversation between the Lucchino and the hosts — pitching, pitching and more pitching — was Lucchino admitting that the Red Sox are interested in Cuban defector Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, a 26-year-old right-hander recently granted free agency by Major League Baseball.
Gonzalez has drawn interest from a number of teams, and his decision reportedly is down to just five. Lucchino said the Red Sox are looking at him “pretty hard.”
“There are a lot of clubs in baseball that have scouted him, to be sure,” Lucchino said. “He’s been on display in Baha California and now is available, after the appropriate approvals and licenses and whatever, so that the auctioning can begin.”
Part of what makes Gonzalez so appealing is that he would only cost money — in the neighborhood of $60 million over five years, by some estimations — and the team would not have to give up anything in terms of prospects.
With the non-waiver trade deadline less than a week away, yes, Lucchino said, the Red Sox are looking to add hurlers for the final stretch, and yes, that includes both starting and relief help. Still, the organization is wary of giving up too much in terms of young players for short-term help.
“The main drawback [of trading for a pitcher] for us would be giving up the prospects. … That’s the hard thing. Reaching into your pocket for your wallet is much easier,” Lucchino said. “We have some really talented young players in our minor league system, and Ben Cherington guards them like his first-born child. He really does want to grow this team internally. That is the most proven path to long-term success, but we all share that point of view.
“There are certain prospects that qualify to be trade bait, and other prospects that are so strong, so important to your future that you develop them to be cornerstones of your team in future years.”
In terms of high-profile minor leaguers, Lucchino was hesitant to use the term “untouchable,” but he did acknowledge certain players are generally viewed throughout the organization as building blocks of the future. He mentioned Will Middlebrooks, Xander Bogaerts and Rubby De La Rosa in particular.
“There are some players down there who may have an opportunity in the second half of the season to come up here and make a difference,” Lucchino said.
All of it is a careful balance between finding the right piece for a run at the 2013 postseason and planning for the longer-term future. The Red Sox are trying to find a way to get both.
“We want to make the postseason this year,” Lucchino said. “We’ve surprised a lot of people with the degree of success we’ve had, and to some degree we’ve surprised ourselves a little bit. We do have an excellent chance to get there. And if you’re a baseball fan, these next few months are just what you look for — an exciting, competitive team in the playoff hunt all year. … It’s [hard] to bite the bullet. We don’t want one year of success. We want continued competitiveness year after year.”
On potential ancillary benefits of signing Dustin Pedroia to an extension: “There’s an old business maxim, you get what you reward. We chose to reward, using that term loosely, Dustin Pedroia for the kind of performance he’s given us, the kind of performance we expect to get from him, and the kind of values, personality he injects into our clubhouse, into our organization. If other players see that that is the path to success with the Red Sox, that’s the path to long-term financial security for their families, so be it. We’re pleased they see that lesson and they recognize that that’s the kind of player that the organization will reward.”
On whether Ryan Braun being suspended was good or bad for baseball: “It was obviously both. To answer your question more directly, it was on balance a good day for baseball. It was a day that said, ‘We aren’t just going to talk the talk. We are going to walk the walk. We won’t just have strict rules, we’ll have strict enforcement.’ That’s one thing.
“The second thing it demonstrated was that … the union and baseball were able to find the path that made sense and strictly enforce the rules together. That sense of collaboration should send a message loudly and clearly to the players and to the world that everybody in baseball is focused on this.”
On the ever-evolving Alex Rodriguez scenario: “You have a human being and a family that are affected by this. There is a personal tragedy in each of these situations, but for the greater good, something important is being done here. The enforcement element of the drug policy is being executed well and that’s a great thing for baseball going forward. You try not to be too partisan about it, because every club has been touched by it in some way, shape or form. Just kind of focus on the long-term success that it’s going to be a game where the steroid era will be a part of the past, but not a part of our present or future.”
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