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Ben Cherington on D&C: Red Sox could be interested in acquiring major league players at trade deadline 06.25.15 at 10:25 am ET
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Ben Cherington

Ben Cherington

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington joined the Dennis & Callahan show on Thursday morning to discuss the Red Sox and where they currently are in the season. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Despite the Red Sox‘ record, Cherington said that he and the team are looking to get as much out of this squad as possible. So as the July 31 trade deadline gets closer every day, Cherington said, “on that kind of thing, you wait as long as you can” before deciding to give up on the season on focus on the coming years.

“I think the more general statement is that we’re going to work to get to a good team, get to the team that we believe we are actually closer to than many believe as quickly as we can,” Cherington said. “So I foresee a scenario where we would even be interested in acquiring major league players, adding to the major league team. Depending on what our record is, it may be that those types of talks would be more geared towards players that we control, not just this year, but beyond this year, but I think that’ll continue to be where our focus is.”

A name that has come up in terms of possibilities of moving at the deadline is Clay Buchholz due to his improved pitching and favorable contract.

“I really think our focus is going to be to continue to improve the team, build the team that we want as quickly as we can,” Cherington said. “With respect to the record, of course that’s going to have to guide us a little bit on certain types of transactions, but the big picture, the bigger considerations we’re going to be focused on trying to improve the team and be good as we can as quickly as we can, and so Clay obviously can be a big part of that.”

In his most recent column, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan wrote that Hanley Ramirez‘s attitude “has irked some respected members of the Red Sox’ clubhouse.” Cherington said he’s seen the piece, but that Ramirez’s “irksome” attitude is not something he’s heard about.

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Ben Cherington takes blame for Red Sox troubles 06.18.15 at 12:12 am ET
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Ben Cherington

Ben Cherington

Speaking to the media prior to his team’s 5-2 loss to the Braves Wednesday, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington insisted blame for the last-place team’s woes should fall on his shoulders.

“From my perspective, looking at the bigger picture and why we are where we are, when you are where we are, there’s a lot of reasons for it,” Cherington told reporters. “There’s no single player that’s responsible for that. No single player can be responsible for a lot of reasons. The only person who perhaps is responsible, for a longer list of reasons, is me.”

With the team residing 11 games under .500 and nine games back in the American League East, Cherington said he understands there has been plenty of blame cast all across the organization.

“Well, the record is the record. The record is clearly not good enough for where we play and the amount that’€™s invested in the team,” he said. “We all know that. My job is to try to dig in to every reason for that, to look back at every decision we’ve made and try to learn something from that and then try to make it better, starting today and tomorrow and the next day. I think that whatever good things are going on in the organization, which I think there are a lot of good things going on in the organization, the record of the major-league team is the biggest thing. In Boston, that’€™s the biggest thing. When that’€™s not good enough, I’m more responsible than anyone else for that, so I have to find a way to make it better.”

The general manager was also asked about the expectations of specific players:

Rusney Castillo: “Well we think he’€™s a good player. The performance at the big league level so far this year obviously doesn’€™t reflect what we think he is. If you look at all of the attributes, he’€™s got athleticism, he’€™s got the tools, he’€™s strong, he cares, he’€™s accountable, he works hard. I think he’€™s smart. That all adds up to being a good player. It hasn’€™t shown up yet on the field in 2015 on the big league level so he’€™s got to keep working through it. There’€™s plenty of time for him to do that. On the other hand John has got to put the guys in the lineup who are swinging the bat the best.”

Jackie Bradley Jr.: “We talked about this a couple weeks ago. Very encouraged. He’s made an adjustment offensively and been one of the better hitters in the International League all year. Obviously the defense has always been there. He’s played hard at the top of that lineup every day. He looks like a good major-league player, the way we always thought that he could be. That’€™s where he is right now.”

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Curt Schilling on D&C regarding Wade Miley-John Farrell confrontation: ‘With guys that are dumb-asses, sometimes it happens in front of the camera’ 06.12.15 at 9:48 am ET
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ESPN analyst Curt Schilling checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning to offer his views on the John Farrell-Wade Miley confrontation from Thursday night. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

During Thursday’s 6-5 loss to the Orioles, Miley — who allowed five runs in four innings — expressed his frustration to the manager in the Red Sox dugout after being told he would not return for the fifth inning. Farrell followed Miley down the tunnel to the locker room and later downplayed the confrontation rather than publicly admonishing the left-hander.

Schilling, who pitched for the Red Sox when Farrell was the team’s pitching coach, said Farrell might have been careful with his words to the media, but he’s sure the 6-foot-4 field general flexed his muscles in private.

“I promise you there was a conversation in which John said, ‘If this ever happens again I’ll break you in half,’ to some degree,” Schilling said. “John Farrell isn’t just a big dude and he doesn’t just have an intimidating presence. He’ll throw down.

“This happens all the time,” Schilling added. “It generally happens a lot of time behind the scenes. With guys that are dumb-asses, sometimes it happens in front of the camera.”

Asked if the postgame conversation would have happened in front of the team, Schilling said that’s not necessary.

“There’s no sound-proof door on the manager’s office, which is about 11 inches away from the clubhouse,” Schilling said. “You don’t need to do it in front of the team to make sure the team knows.”

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Ben Cherington: ‘It was obvious’ for Red Sox to take Arkansas OF Andrew Benintendi No. 7 overall 06.08.15 at 11:46 pm ET
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Ben Cherington

Ben Cherington

With the No. 7 overall pick in the MLB draft, it was a big deal for the Red Sox organization, as it’s not very often they will have such a high pick — it was the third time in 48 years they had a top 10 pick.

Even with how important of a selection it was, the Red Sox had no doubts when they selected Arkansas outfielder and left-handed hitting Andrew Benintendi Monday night in the first-round of the 2015 MLB draft.

“Despite only two years of college baseball, there’€™s quite a bit of history that we have with him going back to high school and he’€™s someone who’€™s always played at the highest level of competition that’€™s been available to him, whether it’€™s been in high school or college and put that together with his performance, his physical skills and getting to know him as a person as we were able to do this spring, just throw it all together and when it got time to our pick at 7, he was the top player on the board, it was obvious who we were taking,” general manager Ben Cherington said on a conference call. “We’€™re really excited to take him.”

Benintendi broke out as a college sophomore, hitting .380 with 19 homers and 23 stolen bases while leading the Razorbacks to the College World Series this week. Prior to this season, he wasn’t on many team’s draft boards.

The 20-year-old was excited to be selected by the Red Sox.

“€œObviously it’€™s a great organization and they’€™ve got great history,” he said. “Growing up I was a big red sox fan and I looked up to Dustin Pedroia, obviously not the biggest guy but the way he competes and the way he works, it’€™s motivating for me. Being picked, it was extremely exciting. my family was here, my mom, and dad and two sisters. I put in a lot of hard work to get to this point. It’€™s starting to pay off and definitely have a lot more work to do, but I’€™m extremely excited and it’€™s going to be exciting to start.”€

The center fielder was drafted two years ago by the Reds, but didn’t sign. The Red Sox had contact with him then too, so they have known him for awhile and kept tabs on him ever since he didn’t sign. He really got their attention again this year, as he was named the SEC’s Player of the Year.

As for what they hope to get out of him, director of amateur scouting Mike Rikard seeings him having a top of the order type bat.

“As far as the player and his toolset, we think Andrew is a very well rounded player,” Rikard said. “There are so many things we like about him, he’€™s very athletic, he can run, he can play center field, we see him eventually as a top of the order type of bat.”

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Red Sox looking to ‘take advantage’ of having No. 7 overall pick in MLB Draft 06.05.15 at 3:35 pm ET
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The Red Sox selected LHP Trey Ball the last time they had the No. 7 overall pick in 2013. (Darrell Snow/Greenville Drive)

The Red Sox selected LHP Trey Ball the last time they had the No. 7 overall pick in 2013. (Darrell Snow/Greenville Drive)

After the Red Sox make a selection with the seventh-overall pick in the 2015 MLB First-Year Player Draft Monday night, the organization will not select again until the third round. But, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington and first-year Director of Amateur Scouting Mike Rikard are staying levelheaded when considering options for their top selection.

“€œThis is one selection. Yes, we want to take advantage of it, but we have to sort of just keep in mind it is one selection, it is one decision amongst a lot of decisions on players that happens over the course of the year,” Cherington said on a conference call Friday. “I feel confident about our ability to get talent out of the draft, likewise out of the international markets, and the No. 7 pick in 2015 is another opportunity to do that but we don’€™t need to put more weight on it than we need to.”

The Red Sox own the seventh-overall pick for the second time in the last three years. In 2013, the Sox selected left-handed pitcher Trey Ball out of New Castle High School at No. 7 from a highly-touted draft class that included the likes of current Cubs rookie Kris Bryant.

Rikard said the talent in this year’€™s class is “pretty good,” but noted the Red Sox‘€™ selection could be impacted by how the first six picks play out.

“€œI think this draft class may be a little non-typical, just because there still is some uncertainty in front of us,” Rikard said on the conference call. “€œThere maybe hasn’€™t been those guys at the top of the draft that have kind of solidified themselves. So there is some gray area as far as what maybe the teams may do in front of us but we’€™re trying to just continue to weigh out all the options and we’€™ll continue to do so for the next few days.”

Rikard added: “We’€™re still very open-minded at the top of the draft. Obviously we’€™re well along in the process but we’€™re still considering a lot of options.”

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Red Sox Director of Amateur Scouting Mike Rikard feeling ‘anxious,’ but ‘excited’ for first MLB draft at 1:59 pm ET
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The Red Sox selected Michael Chavis in the first-round in the 2014 draft. The 2015 draft will be Mike Rikard's first draft leading the way. (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

The Red Sox selected Michael Chavis in the first-round in the 2014 draft. The 2015 draft will be Red Sox Director of Amateur Scouting Mike Rikard’s first draft leading the way. (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Monday night will be a big night for Red Sox Director of Amateur Scouting Mike Rikard.

Rikard was promoted to the position this past offseason and Monday is his first big test with the 2015 MLB Draft. The Red Sox will have the No. 7 overall pick, which only adds to the excitement, but he also noted there is some anxiety with it being his first draft leading the way.

“I’m very excited,” Rikard said on a conference call Friday afternoon. “I think that number one, everything that we do in amateur scouting starts with the amateur scouts. I mean, they are truly the lifeblood of what we do and they have done an incredible job of putting us into a really comfortable position to consider what all the options may be.

“Obviously, going through anything of this magnitude for the first time there’s going to be some level of anxiety and you just try and keep that positive and it’s certainly an exciting time. To be quite honest, anytime you think about just how important this is it doesn’t take too long to realize the people that we have here in place and our staff and how good we feel that we are. It gives you a lot of comfort with with where we’re at.”

Rikard is taking over for Amiel Sawdaye, who led the draft for five seasons and was promoted this past offseason to Vice President of Amateur and International Scouting. Rikard worked right along side Sawdaye for the five drafts as a national cross-checker.

Led by Sawdaye the Red Sox have had successful drafts of late, highlighted in 2011 when the organization selected Blake Swihart and Henry Owens, along with Matt Barnes, Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Mookie Betts. Also taken under Sawdaye have been Brandon Workman (2010), Deven Marrero (2012), Brian Johnson (2012), Trey Ball (2013) and Michael Chavis (2014).

Rickard says his transition has been an easy one because he worked so closely with Sawdaye and is familiar with the rest of the staff.

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Ben Cherington on D&C: Red Sox need to create consistent, sustainable offense 06.04.15 at 10:27 am ET
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Ben Cherington

Ben Cherington

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington joined the Dennis & Callahan show on Thursday morning to discuss his job, the Red Sox‘ offense and Eduardo Rodriguez. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

John Henry spoke to the media Tuesday and gave his backing of Cherington and manager John Farrell, stating explicitly Cherington would be the general manager of the Red Sox for a “very long time.” While he was grateful for the public vote of confidence, Cherington said because he and Henry have been talking so much recently, it wasn’t “really necessary for him to do it in terms of telling him directly.”

“We’ve been talking a lot the last few weeks about what’s going on,” he said. “I think when we’re talking about solutions and trying to find ways to get better, the only thing you’re focused on is trying to find a way to win games. I’m not worried about job security, just worried about trying to win games, so I appreciate what he said publicly. I think it was important for John Farrell, the clubhouse, and as we talk about good clubhouses and good teams having each others’ backs, we’ll try to do that, the rest of the front office too, and there’s no time being spent inside the offices other than just trying to find ways to get better and win games.”

It’s no secret the Sox have been struggling on offense. Cherington is looking for the team to “create some more consistent offense, some sustainable offense,” as a way to turn their 23-30 record around. Since the beginning of May, the Red Sox have had 18 games scoring two runs or less.

A suggested solution to some of Boston’s hitting and scoring woes is having a designated hitter platoon where David Ortiz starts against righties and Hanley Ramirez goes against lefties. For Cherington, that idea doesn’t make an enormous amount of sense.

“I think we’ve got a lot of season to play, and we’re going to need the whole roster, and we’re going to need to use guys, and we’re going to need to get the most out of everyone on the roster,” he said. “When you start defining players like that this early, especially guys with track records like that, I’m just not sure that’s the solution. We clearly need to produce more offense, we know that.”

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John Henry: John Farrell’s job is secure; Ben Cherington will be general manager of Red Sox for a ‘very long time’ 06.02.15 at 5:48 pm ET
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John Henry

John Henry

For those who thought general manager Ben Cherington and manager John Farrell‘s jobs were on the line, owner John Henry threw cold water on that fire Tuesday night, offering his full support for the two.

The owner said he doesn’t expect drastic changes, going as far as saying, “I think this is the right team.”

Henry was asked why he believes Farrell and Cherington are right for the job.

“Why do I believe that? Because I have worked with a lot of people over the years and these are two people that are really likable, respected — they are committed,” Henry said. “They are very good at what they do. John has provided the kind of leadership that we need through a tough period and I just don’t think you can blame the manager for this. I watch these games. They’ve been painful games to watch. To me it’s not the manager’s fault the way that we’ve been playing. I just don’t see that.”

He was then asked about Cherington and why he believes in him. Henry went as far as saying Cherington will be the general manager of the club for a “very long time.”

“The general manager is going to be the general manager of this club for a very long time,” Henry said. “I have nothing but respect for him for the job that he does. I think we have been on the same wavelength so you have to blame ownership as much as you blame the general manager. We have a certain philosophy. We’ve talked a lot about adjusting that philosophy.

“As I said earlier, I am not sure just the players need to make adjustments. In fact I am sure about that, there are adjustments we need to make as an organization. Ben will make those adjustments and he’ll lead that process. I think he and his people are the right people to do that.”

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Jack of all trades: An in-depth look at Red Sox players’ versatility 05.27.15 at 12:16 pm ET
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Brock Holt has played six different positions in the field so far this season. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Brock Holt already has played six positions this season. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Versatility is becoming more and more important to a team’s success.

Of the 13 position players on the Red Sox‘ 25-man roster, six have played multiple positions this year, and over the course of their careers 10 have played more than one position.

This movement goes down to the Triple-A level as well. Of the 12 position players on the active Pawtucket roster, nine have played multiple positions this year, many three positions.

“The benefit is the more options the manager has. At the major league level with good players, the better chance the manager has to fill out a deep lineup 162 times a year,” Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said. “If you have a bunch of guys on your roster that are more bound to one position or two, it just gets harder to get through the season and create deep lineups, good matchups, and then it’s also a huge advantage in terms of managing players’ health throughout the season.

“Brock Holt could play seven, eight places on the field theoretically. If there is a time when a player is dragging for whatever reason you can play Holt one day and still give yourself a chance to get good production and not get a drop-off. It might help the team, but also helps the player who gets the day off. There are all sorts of things for a potential benefit.”

The most notable versatile player in the organization is Holt, who has played six positions this year and last year played every position in the field besides catcher and pitcher.

There are others like Mookie Betts who was an infielder until early in the season last year when he was switched to center field, Xander Bogaerts, who added third base to his repertoire in 2013 and played both positions last year, and Hanley Ramirez, who is playing left field after spending his whole career on the left side of the infield.

“It’s huge,” Betts said of being able to play multiple positions. “You get to get in the lineup every day and, like I said, you create value for yourself and the team as well. That’s huge.”

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Ben Cherington not looking at trades as of now, believes Red Sox can improve with current players 05.23.15 at 7:15 pm ET
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Ben Cherington

Ben Cherington

With the Red Sox looking to create a spark and rejuvenate the lineup and team, don’t expect a trade to be one of those ways — at least yet.

The Red Sox are 19-23 to open the year and have dropped four of their last five games. They are also 8-12 at home and averaging only 2.45 runs per game in May, with 13 of the 20 games scoring two runs or fewer.

Manager John Farrell shook up the lineup Saturday, moving Dustin Pedroia into the leadoff spot and flip-flopped David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez, but other than lineup changes, don’t expect anything bigger, at least for the time being.

“We’re looking for ways to get better, there’s no doubt about that,” general manager Ben Cherington said. “As I said earlier, bigger impactful trades they just don’t happen this early, so we’re still mostly focusing on finding ways to get better with guys that are here that we have. I think we can do that and improve just with the guys that we have here.

“Not to say that we wouldn’t look for ways to improve too, but it’s just not as common to see trades available this early that are going to be that impactful. We’ll keep working and looking at all those areas.”

The team has a number of players who have under-performed. David Ortiz is hitting .239, Mike Napoli is hitting .182, Mookie Betts is hitting .232 with an on-base percentage of .290 out of the leadoff spot — and the most disturbing stat of them all, as a team the Red Sox are hitting .203 with runners in scoring position — second to last in baseball, as only the Reds are worse at .188.

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