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Mike Petraglia, Alex Speier on John Farrell, Ben Cherington, Tom Werner and Day 4 of 2014 Spring Training 02.20.14 at 6:09 pm ET
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Jon Lester says he wants ‘a Dustin Pedroia deal’ to stay with Red Sox 01.23.14 at 10:50 pm ET
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With the recent mega-deals handed out to the likes of Clayton Kershaw and Masahiro Tanaka, questions have arisen about the future of the Red Sox‘ own left-handed ace, Jon Lester.

Speaking during the media availability at the Boston Baseball Writers Association of America awards dinner, Lester made it clear that despite the possibility of a major payday on the open market, he’s more than open to signing an extension with Boston rather than pursuing free agency following the 2014 season.

“I want to be here until they have to rip this jersey off my back,” Lester said. “I want to stay here. This is what I’ve known. I grew up in this organization. I’ve had plenty of good and bad times here. I enjoy it, my family loves it here, all my son talks about is going home to Boston, and that’s what he thinks is home. If it all comes down to it, we want to be here.”

Though elite starting pitchers are garnering big money on the open market,  Lester said that he’s open to taking a hometown discount in order to remain with the Red Sox. For the left-hander, familiarity and commitment to win weighs heavily in his decision.

“I’ve never been the type of guy to take more money from somebody else to suck. I don’t want to do that. That’s no fun. I want to win, and if that means taking a Dustin Pedroia deal, to take less money to be happy and competitive and win every year, let’s do it,” Lester said, referencing the eight-year, $110 million extension that his teammate signed during the 2013 season. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: ben cherington, Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester, Masahiro Tanaka
Red Sox GM Ben Cherington: ‘To be determined’ whether Red Sox meet with Masahiro Tanaka 01.10.14 at 11:30 am ET
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Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington, in an interview on WEEI’s Hot Stove Show on Thursday night, said that the Red Sox have been “in contact” with Casey Close, who represents right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, the Japanese pitcher who has been posted by the Rakuten Golden Eagles. Tanaka, considered the top pitcher available this offseason, is in the United States meeting with a number of teams in advance of the Jan. 24 date after which he can sign with a team willing to pay a $20 million posting fee to Rakuten for his rights. Cherington declined to say whether the Red Sox were among the teams with whom Tanaka is meetings, instead suggest it was “to be determined” whether the pitcher would meet with the Sox.

“We’ve been in touch with Casey Close, who’s representing Tanaka, and obviously we’ve done a lot of work on Tanaka, as a lot of teams have. So we’re very comfortable with our evaluation. We’ve had a conversation and dialogue with Casey. That’s about all I’d want to say at this point,” Cherington said. “We respect Tanaka as a pitcher. Obviously he’s very accomplished. Not surprisingly,there will be a lot of competition for him. It will be an interesting couple weeks I guess, roughly, that he has to make a decision.

“Meeting with teams is sort of an indication that he wants to get more information from those teams. We’ll just see how it plays out. We’ll see whether it makes sense to have that meeting with us. I think we have had a good open dialogue with Casey. I think he understands our position and we understand his,” Cherington added. “I don’t think the calendar really allows for him to meet with every team. Nor does the calendar allow for every team to meet with him. So there’s got to be some sense on both sides that it’s time worth spending. That’s to be determined. All I can say at this point is we really respect him as a pitcher, his talent, he’s very accomplished obviously. He certainly looks like a guy who’s going to be a good major league starter right away. When that kind of pitcher or talent is available, it’s our job to do the work we need to do to get to know him and express a level of interest that makes sense for us. We’ve done that. So, we’ll see how that goes.”

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Ben Cherington: Contract talks with David Ortiz will continue through season at 9:42 am ET
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Appearing on The Hot Stove Show with Rob Bradford and Alex Speier Thursday night, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington confirmed that the team has had contract talks with David Ortiz, and plan on continuing the conversation throughout the upcoming season.

“Probably so,” Cherington said when asked if talks with Ortiz and his agent, Fern Cuza, will be taking place in the coming months. “I can say that because I think there’€™s always dialogue with David and with Fern. That’€™s important to me. It’€™s important to ownership. It’€™s important to the organization to have open dialogue with our key players and David is certainly one of those. We’ve talked this winter.

“Look, David is a really important player on a number of levels. Obviously what he does on the field, what he means to the team, his place in the city, all of those things. He’€™s not just any baseball player. When someone like that expresses their strong interest in staying in the organization, I think we mostly take that as a good thing. It’€™s a heck of a lot better than the alternative. So we welcome that interest. So there will be dialogue and we’€™ll just have to see what that turns into. Our position hasn’t changed when it comes to David. It has been, for some time and I expect it will continue to be, we want him to finish his career with the Red Sox and we want him to do that in a way that’€™s right for him, that’€™s right for us, that fits his career and fits the type of player that he is, is graceful and all those things. Right now we’€™re counting on him being in the middle of our lineup for 2014 and we’€™re lucky to have him. Certainly the door will be open and there will be a chance to talk about it, whether it’€™s in spring training or into the season.”

Ortiz had told WEEI.com during his celebrity golf tournament in December that he wanted to get an extension done sooner rather than later.

The designated hitter is in the final year of his current deal, which will pay him $15 million.

For the complete audio, click here.

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Ben Cherington: No Stephen Drew dialogue with Scott Boras since ‘just before the holidays’ at 8:34 am ET
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Appearing on The Hot Stove Show with Rob Bradford and Alex Speier on Thursday night, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said his team is still waiting out the market for free agent shortstop Stephen Drew.

According to Cherington, the Sox and Drew’€™s agent, Scott Boras, have not talked in a few weeks.

“We’ve kept a dialogue going, and frankly haven’€™t had a conversation in a little while now. It’€™s been probably just before the holidays,” the GM said. “€œI don’€™t have any doubt Stephen has opportunities out there. He’€™s a good player. He’€™s a healthy player. He’€™s going to be someone’€™s shortstop this year. We think we’ve had an honest, open dialogue with Stephen and Scott obviously about what our interests are and some of the issues we’€™re facing. He’€™s done the same and we’€™ll continue to have a conversation as we always do with Scott. But there’€™s nothing really to report on it.”

Even with five weeks to go before the beginning of spring training, Cherington said the Red Sox are not setting a deadline regarding when a decision needs to be made on bringing back Drew.

“I would like to think we as a group and our major league staff — John [Farrell] and coaches –€“ are flexible and nimble enough to accommodate a move that makes sense no matter what date it comes on, because you never know what opportunities come up and I wouldn’t want to limit ourselves that way,”€ Cherington said.

The general manager also touched on the possibility of committing to playing younger players, such as shortstop Xander Bogaerts and third baseman Will Middlebrooks.

“€œOne of things we’ve been focused a lot of on this winter, and talking about internally, we have, as everyone knows, got a handful of young players who we believe in, who we believe are going to be really good major league players and of course when they’€™re unproven at the major league level there’€™s always a fair question about transition and whether there’€™s a learning curve that needs to take place,” he said. “That said, if you have young players you believe in there is a real value to be obtained from committing to some of them because if you don’€™t, you never do. Everyone knows the best teams year in, year out that can integrate young players from time to time and integrate them successfully because that makes you’€™re team better, it helps you manage things, it helps you manage payroll year in, year out. The only way to do that, of course, is to at some point commit to the young player. The question is which players and how many and what is the right time to do that. That’€™s the dialogue we’€™ve been having internally. We think we’€™re in that position that we have a chance to do that.

‘€”We’€™re not writing anything in stone in terms of who is in the lineup and who’€™s not. We’€™re not handing jobs out in January because we don’€™t have to. But we are talking about the value to the organization that comes from committing to the young player if, indeed, we have the young players who are worth committing to, and if we can support those guys enough by having a deep enough roster overall.”

For audio of the interview, click here.

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Ben Cherington on David Ortiz talks: ‘Our hope certainly is that he finishes his career in a Red Sox uniform’ 12.13.13 at 4:18 pm ET
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On the day that David Ortiz said that his agent is talking with the Red Sox about the possibility of a contract extension, GM Ben Cherington (during a conference call to discuss the re-signing of first baseman Mike Napoli) didn’t want to discuss specifics of the team’s negotiations with the designated hitter, but he did allow that his hope is that if the 38-year-old plays beyond 2014, that he remains with the organization for whom he’s been a lineup centerpiece for the last 11 seasons.

“As a policy we prefer not to talk about our conversations directly with players and private conversations with players,” said Cherington. “What I can say is that we have incredible respect for David and as I’€™ve said before and I’€™ll reiterate our hope certainly is that he finishes his career in a Red Sox uniform. So at some point there will be a conversation about that. I don’€™t know when that will be. It’€™s early December and there are still things we’€™re looking to do this offseason, working on different ways to improve the team. The door will always be open to David and I’€™m sure at the appropriate time there will be an appropriate time to have the conversation and I hope he’€™s in a Red Sox uniform the rest of his career.”

Cherington certainly did not rule out the possibility of talking with Ortiz about an extension before the expiration of his current two-year, $26 million contract (with incentives that increased the value of the deal to $30 million).

“The door is always open if David wants to have a conversation,” said Cherington, “but I’€™m not going to get into the specifics of anything. Our expectation is that at some point at the appropriate time, we’€™ll talk about ways to keep him in a Red Sox uniform, but that’€™s all I am going to say about it right now.”

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Ben Cherington on M&M: ‘We’re not going to proactively make a move just for the sake of making one’ 12.10.13 at 12:38 pm ET
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Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington joined Mut & Merloni at the MLB winter meetings to discuss Boston’s offseason plans, the signing of Edward Mujica, and the future of players like Will MiddlebrooksJackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts.

The Red Sox have been active so far this offseason, signing catcher A.J. Pierzynski to a one-year deal, agreeing with Mike Napoli on a reported two-year contract and inking Mujica to a two-year deal.

‘€œWe feel pretty good where we are,’€ Cherington said. ‘€œI think we’€™re in a position where we can take advantage of the rest of the time we have here and the rest of the time in the offseason just to explore. If there’€™s things we can do to make us better and that make sense short and long term, we’€™ll definitely work on those things, but if we had to start the season tomorrow, we’€™d feel pretty good about that, too.’€

If Boston decides to stand pat for the remainder of the MLB offseason, the team will kick off Opening Day with three players who have only played a combined 224 regular-season games, as Middlebrooks, Bogaerts and Bradley all seem penciled in to start next season.

‘€œWe wouldn’€™t consider committing to a young player unless we really believed in the young player,’€ Cherington said. ‘€œWe think we have some guys who are worth believing in. ‘€¦ There’€™s quite a bit of value for us in finding spots to commit to young players, because at some point, you have to.’€

One interesting topic this offseason has been the discussion over whether the Red Sox will trade a starting pitcher, as the Sox currently have at least six potential starters on the roster.

‘€œI don’€™t think so,’€ Cherington said. ‘€œSomehow, a pitching surplus in general tends to work itself out by the time you get to Opening Day, so we’€™re not going to proactively make a move just for the sake of making one. If something makes sense, we’€™ll listen, but certainly we’€™d rather go into spring training with more than enough options than too few.’€

The signing of Mujica could prove to be a big boost to the Boston bullpen, as the 29-year-old reliever had a stellar first half of the 2013 season with the Cardinals, recording 26 saves while walking only one batter. However, Mujica struggled in September with an 11.05 ERA in 10 games due to a groin injury.

‘€œHe had a groin issue that cropped up in September where he just couldn’€™t push off the way he normally did. If you look at the first half of the season, he was dominant. ‘€¦ We don’€™t have any concerns about him physically,’€ Cherington said. ‘€œHe’€™s actually been remarkably healthy for his career. ‘€¦ He, along with [Junichi] Tazawa and Koji [Uehara] and the others hopefully allow John [Farrell] and the staff to manage everyone’€™s workload.’€

To listen to the interview, visit the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox.

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Curt Schilling on D&C: ‘I can’t imagine’ Red Sox will sign Jon Lester to long-term deal 11.14.13 at 11:46 am ET
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ESPN’s Curt Schilling  joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning to discuss the MLB offseason, the Red SoxWorld Series title and the results of the Manager of the Year vote.

The AL Manager of the Year was announced on Tuesday, as former Red Sox and current Indians manager Terry Francona narrowly edged Boston manager John Farrell, with just 16 points separating the two skippers.

“It was hard,” Schilling said. “I thought the American League one was incredibly challenging, because I thought you had a bunch of guys that had phenomenal seasons. … I thought either one of them could have won it. I think the job that they both did was amazing.”

The offseason is in full swing, as the annual GM meetings have kicked off in Orlando. The Sox already have been linked to multiple players, including Carlos BeltranBrian McCann and Carlos Ruiz.

One storyline that has been discussed is what the Sox will do with pitcher Jon Lester once he enters free agency after the 2014 season. If Lester is able to post another great campaign in 2014, the southpaw could command a long-term deal worth over $100 million.

“I think if [Ben Cherington] is allowed to do the things that baseball ops people should be allowed to do and there’s no interference from people that shouldn’t be interfering, I think he’ll stick to [his previous offseason plans],” Schilling said. “You’re not going to see another eight-year, $240 million deal out of this organization, and rightfully so. … There’s literally almost maybe two or three guys in the history of the last 25 years that would have played to [$200 million-plus contracts]. He can’t do it.

“I can’t imagine they would [sign Lester to a six- or seven-year, $100 million-plus deal]. I don’t think you’ll see any team other than probably the Dodgers with [Clayton] Kershaw turn around and give their homegrown player six or seven or eight years, I don’t see it, not from this team anyway. You saw what happened when they tried to go down that path, and I think that is going to be fresh in their minds as long as these guys are still making decisions here.”

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Red Sox GM Ben Cherington named Sporting News Executive of the Year 11.12.13 at 7:17 am ET
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Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington was named Sporting News Executive of the Year on Monday night for his role in turning around the team.

“Definitely unexpected,” Cherington told reporters at the GM meetings in Orlando. “I consider this to be an award for the organization, not for me. Coming off the year we had in 2012, I also sort of see it as usually an award that goes to an organization that does work over a period of time and not necessarily in one year.”

The award was based on a vote of 31 major league executives prior to the postseason.

Cherington received 15 votes to beat out Pittsburgh’s Neal Huntington (9), Kansas City’s Dayton Moore (4) and Atlanta’s Frank Wren (3).

The Red Sox finished last in the American League East in 2012 but rebounded to win the World Series this year after Cherington replaced Bobby Valentine with John Farrell and made some key free agent acquisitions last offseason.

Now he faces another challenge, with Jacoby Ellsbury heading the list of Red Sox free agents he either needs to re-sign or replace.

“I think by now everyone has forgotten the World Series,” Cherington said, “and it’s on to the offseason work.”

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Larry Lucchino on D&C: ‘The core of this team will remain’ for 2014 11.01.13 at 9:50 am ET
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Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning to talk about the team’s World Series championship.

With the 2012 Red Sox finishing last, expectations were low heading into this season. But as the team proved itself to be a contender, Lucchino said the goals were adjusted.

“There was a kind of buzz about the team that developed all along, throughout the season, and came to a fever pitch at around the postseason time,” Lucchino said. “It was almost like we caught a wave right at the right time. I think the fans, and certainly, I speak for myself, I did realize how important it was to get to the World Series. That’s always the special measurement of a team, getting to the World Series. But sure, I would have been terribly disappointed had we not won, because as the team played, our expectations grew. And our sense of how historic this might be, because of the worst-to-first concept that was at its heart, they also grew.”

Lucchino said he’ll “remember the personality and maturity of the team,” but the front office can’t spend too much time reliving the success of 2013 as “the preparations for 2014 have already begun.”

Looking at expectations for next season, Lucchino said the hope is to make it to the postseason and see what happens from there.

“Our goal from the beginning is to be playing October baseball, so I’d be disappointed if we weren’t playing in October next year,” Lucchino said. “But I know how hard it is for some of the things to come together. I’m constantly talking about randomness and unpredictability of baseball. You could add to that the randomness and unpredictability of the health of our players.

“So many things have to come together so well to win it all. To win in such a magical way, as we did this year in such an appealing way, you can’t expect that every year. But what we can expect every year is to field a team that’s worthy of the fans’ support, a phrase we come back to all the time. So I will be disappointed if we’re not playing in October next year, absolutely.”

Discussions about next season’s roster were taking place even before this year’s title was secured.

“We try to celebrate, we try to remember that we’ve got to be in the moment, celebrate this moment, because we’ve all been in baseball a very long time and we know how rare these moments are,” Lucchino said. “But we must balance the future. I will tell you that on Wednesday, the day of Game 6, we had a couple-hour meeting that afternoon that was all about the topic [of pending free agents].

“It’s important that Ben Cherington, who did just an absolutely extraordinary job this year, that he keep one eye especially on the issues that develop immediately after the World Series. The World Series conclusion is the trigger date for a number of options and qualifying offers and a bunch of things that happen quickly thereafter. So as much as you try to stay in the moment and enjoy the moment, there is a responsibility to look forward. And Ben never loses track of that.”

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