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Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy on D&C: ‘We all need a little bit of patience’ as team struggles through April

04.17.14 at 9:44 am ET
By
Sam Kennedy

Sam Kennedy

Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning and said owner John Henry called manager John Farrell on Wednesday to offer his support during the team’s early season struggles. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Red Sox, bringing up the rear in the American League East, improved to 6-9 with Wednesday’s 6-4, 14-inning victory over the White Sox.

“I think repeating [as champions] is probably one of the hardest things to do in professional sports, and we are off to an awful start. While there have been some positives, it’s been really bad,” Kennedy said. “April, you really like to get off to a good start, so it’s been disappointing. People say, ‘Is there a hangover, is there a letdown?’ Whatever it is, you can really point to the basics. We’re not hitting. I think we’re hitting about a buck-fifty with runners in scoring position. We were 1-4 going into last night’s game in one-run games. That’s not going to last. [Dustin] Pedroia, [Will] Middlebrooks, now [Mike] Napoli, [Shane] Victorino missing time, Koji [Uehara]. It’s a lot of factors to point to. I think we need to have some perspective.

“I know for a fact that John Henry reached out to John Farrell and Ben Cherington yesterday just to say, ‘Hey, guys, it’s early, hang in there, things are going to be OK.’ Because you could tell how frustrated those guys are. And we all are. But we do have to have a little bit of perspective. This is our 13th year here together in Boston. Things will get better. Guys will start to hit. Again, the pitching’s been there. So, we all need a little bit of patience. And I know that’s hard for most of us.”

The other big Red Sox news over the last week relates to the negotiations for a new contract with left-hander Jon Lester. A recent report indicated the Red Sox made a lowball offer of about $70 million for four years.

“You have to remember, we’re starting from a place where the Red Sox, from John Henry on down to Jon Lester, want to make a deal. That’s the starting place. I think everybody feels good about that,” Kennedy said. “The problem with negotiations and details from baseball negotiations getting into the public domain when you have a leak like we did this past week related to this deal is one data point gets into the media, gets out there, gets dissected. I can tell you there are lots of other data points related to this negotiation that are not in the public spotlight, in the media. All I’ll say is that Ben Cherington, Jon Lester, Larry Lucchino, our ownership group will continue to work on this. And it’s clearly best when baseball discussions are kept private, and then baseball decisions are made public. That’s been our philosophy.

“Do we want to see Jon Lester in a Red Sox uniform for a long, long time? Absolutely, yes. As a fan, I hope that he is with us for a long, long time. We’ll see where things go over the coming weeks and months. But I’m hopeful that we do end up getting something done there.”

Wednesday’s game in Chicago lasted five hours, 17 minutes. Kennedy acknowledged that it’s been a concern of the team and the league that games are dragging.

“I can tell you from personal experience we’ve been working on a lot of issues related to the pace of play specifically within the walls of 4 Yawkey Way over the last six or seven months,” he said. “And the commissioner’s absolutely committed to it. But it’s going to take time. It’s not as simple as snapping your fingers. But we do need to address the pace of play. It is clear, it is a real-live problem that faces us.”

Added Kennedy: “Commissioner [Bud] Selig has actually been in touch with us specifically and we’ve been engaged in a project to make some recommendations and suggestions. We’ll see how that goes. But we recognize we have an issue and a problem, and it’s something that we care deeply about. Probably no bigger issue facing the sport that just that.”

Kennedy indicated that the biggest hurdle might be convincing the players to go along with any changes.

“It’s easy for those of us who never played the game at a really high level to make suggestions and think it would be easy to have people adopt them,” Kennedy said. “I think there is a certain rhythm of the game, a certain way that players play the game. But once you make it a rule and you sort of take it out of the hands of the players, and have the umpires have the ability to enforce the ideas that you’re suggesting, I think it just becomes part of how the game is played, and I think that is absolutely doable. We just have to commit as an industry to making that happen. You make get some pushback from the on-field personnel with some of these issues, but I think overall people know it will be better for the game in the long term.”

Read More: ben cherington, John Farrell, John Henry, Jon Lester
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