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Ben Cherington on D&C: ‘I didn’t do a good enough job building a complete offense’

07.17.14 at 10:04 am ET
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Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning to discuss the contract negotiations between the team and Jon Lester as well as the state of the club. To listen to the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The 2014 season has been a far cry from last year’s championship run, as Boston sits in last place in the American League East with a 43-52 record. When it comes to finding a root cause for the Red Sox‘ struggles, Cherington took responsibility for not adding enough firepower to the lineup. The Red Sox are last in the AL in runs scored (367).

“I think obviously our biggest issue, at least up until very recently, has been offensive production,” Cherington said. “I think our pitching has been good enough to win, we just haven’t produced offensively. As I look at that, I guess what I would say is that I didn’t do a good enough job building a complete offense. … It certainly wasn’t our intent. We thought we would have that, we thought we had reason to believe that we could have that going into the year, but the reality is that we have not through a big chunk of the first part of the season.

“That has hamstrung our ability to win games. … In that aggregate, I didn’t do a good enough job building a deep enough offense, at least to start the season. We’re trying to remedy that, in ways that make sense. It takes time. That’s been the flaw of the team more than anything else, so I take responsibility for that.”

While contract talks between Lester and the Red Sox has been a hot topic over the last month, Cherington said that there have not been many new developments in the negotiations.

“I think a lot has been written about this,” Cherington acknowledged. “I think what I take out of this, more than anything, is what’s said if you ask John Henry, Tom Werner, Larry Lucchino, myself, if you ask Jon Lester … I think what all of those people would say is that there’s a strong relationship here that goes back 12 years and that strong relationship will allow for a continued dialogue.”

Cherington continued: “I think that Jon feels like right now is the time to focus on the field and focus on the team. … There’s been a lot of talk, I don’t think anything coming from any of those people I just mentioned. … It’s out there and I just don’t don’t put much stock in it and it’s because none of it’s coming from the people that are actually a part of the conversation.”

Cherington said that Lester’s statements earlier this year that he would take a hometown discount and the team’s reported low-ball offer of a four-year, $70 million contract this spring have not constricted any contract talks between the two parties.

“No, I don’t,” Cherington said. “Nobody is using any one data point as a means to sort of drive a conversation in one direction or the other. We’re all just focused on relying on the relationship that’s been built over 12 years as a way to try to find a constructive resolution to a challenging issue.”

Cherington said that while he is not ready to wave the white flag on the 2014 season, he added that it’s important to be realistic going forward as the Red Sox enter the second half of the year.

“We are going to do whatever we feel gives the Red Sox the best chance to be as good as possible and as quickly as possible and we are not conceding 2014 with that statement,” Cherington said. “We feel like the team that we have now is capable of being better than a lot of teams ahead of us in the standings. … We don’t see why we can’t win more games than most of the teams ahead of us.

“We are where we are, so we also have to be realistic about what that means, so we have to be engaged in the conversations that I talked about and to be in position to make hopefully the right decisions as we get closer to the [trade deadline on July] 31st. … You have to have those conversations, but we’re still focused on winning games and we’ll be focused on trying to win tomorrow night.”

For more Red Sox news, go to the team page at weei.com/redsox.

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