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Ben Cherington on D&C: John Lackey likely ‘going to keep pitching past 2015’

04.10.14 at 10:30 am ET
By
Ben Cherington

Ben Cherington

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday to discuss the beginning of the season and pitching contracts. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

After saying during the spring that they were turning the page on last year, the Red Sox have gone 4-5 during the first two weeks of the 2014 season.

“I think doing it is a little more difficult than saying it,” Cherington said. “I think we’re in the process of doing it. We’ve had a couple of reminders early in the season, reminders of last year — obviously great reminders and good reasons to be reminded.

“I think once we get into a normal routine, and this road trip might represent that normal routine, we’ll see if the team is more fully turning the page.”

Veteran pitcher John Lackey has won two of those games, but, due to a stipulation in his contract, Lackey is set to make the league minimum during the 2015 season.

“John’s one of the most accountable, reliable guys in our clubhouse,” Cherington said. “And one of the things, even when things weren’t going as well for him in Boston, he was always one of the most reliable guys. … He already has a high degree of accountability, and I think he understands the contract he signed.

“It’s also clear the way he’s throwing right now that in all likelihood he’€™s going to keep pitching past 2015, so he’s got a lot of reasons to keep pitching. He certainly looks more than capable of pitching for a while, and he’s got the kind of body and delivery and command. He’s the type of guy that could pitch for a while longer if he wants to, so it is a bit of an unusual situation, but it was part of the contract that was agreed to, and I think the way it looks like right now, we would all expect for John to sign another contract at some point and continue through 2015.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Red Sox news, go to the team page at weei.com/redsox.

On having six outfielders when Shane Victorino returns: “I think we’ve got to see where we are when we get there. Our standard default position this early in the season is to keep as much talent in the organization as we can. I wouldn’t rule out anything and of course a lot can happen between now and then that might work itself out naturally, but Jackie [Bradley Jr.] has been really good to see him — we’re all happy for him because we’ve seen him be this player for his whole life. It just hadn’t happened in the big leagues yet and now folks are obviously seeing the kind of things he can do. He’s a really great defender, he’s having good at-bats and playing with a lot of energy. Certainly helping us out so we have, we think, a combination of guys who can make up a really good outfield and we’ll just see where we are as we get toward the end of April and Vic comes back, and we’ll see where we are at that time.”

On a contract extension for Jon Lester: “The devil’s in the details on any significant contract whether it’s for Lester or anybody else that we’re talking about a long-term deal. … The hard part with Jon is that he’s done such a good job, he’s been so consistent, so durable pitching in tough positions, pitching in the postseason. He’s got a lot going for him, and he’s just a few months from free agency at a time when you and we all see what’s happened with starting pitching in the free agent market and contracts have come down over the past two, three years. That segment of the population has clearly moved at least in terms of free agent dollars, so that creates a dynamic when you’re trying to work on a contract.

“That makes it challenging, and we have to look at it through our own lens that what’€™s clear as we’ve stated — and John Henry said this and I said this — we want Jon Lester to be here. We will work as hard as we can to try to make that work, but there’s things that other teams might do that we just won’t do. … We’re just going to keep working at it. While we’re not currently, we’ll be working on it at the right time and when there’s a desire on both sides there’s always a chance.”

Read More: ben cherington, john lackey, Jon Lester, Shane Victorino
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