|Red Sox look for Jackie Bradley Jr. to ‘build some momentum’ down in Pawtucket||08.19.14 at 9:06 pm ET|
Despite hitting at a productive .308 (4-for-13) clip over his last four games with Boston, the Red Sox had evidently seen enough of Jackie Bradley Jr. at the major-league level.
Boston optioned Bradley down to Triple-A Pawtucket prior to Monday’s game against the Angels – the final stage in a long series of evaluations that general manager Ben Cherington and the rest of Red Sox management went through to determine Bradley’s standing as a big-league hitter.
“With Jackie, I think we had gone through several phases through the year,” Cherington said. “Obviously it looked like, before the All-Star break, that there were some things that were starting to take hold and some momentum, so we certainly hoped and expected that might continue after the All-Star break, and he started to struggle again. I think as we got past the deadline and as the direction of the team changed, I think we started about how do we give him the best chance to build some momentum going into the offseason knowing that he’s a really important guy for us going forward.”
Bradley already emerged as a Gold Glove candidate in his rookie campaign, leading all major-league outfielders in assists (13) while seemingly tracking down every fly ball hit near him out in center field.
However, Bradley’s great defensive play could not carry over to when he stepped up to the plate. At the time of his demotion, Bradley was hitting just .216 with a .288 OBP and .290 slugging percentage this season. The 24-year-old was on pace to register the lowest batting average from an American League starting center fielder since Mike Cameron hit .210 in 1998.
“Certainly there’s no questions about the defense, so it was really more focused on the offense,” Cherington said. “We just got the point where we felt like … it would be best for him to get a bunch of at-bats in Pawtucket and try to lock into a routine that works for him – that he can feel good about.”
Cherington made it a point to mention that this will likely not be the last that anyone sees of Bradley at Fenway this season, as the club will not need to use one of their two remaining options on him if he’s called up when rosters expand in September.
“We fully expect him to be back in September, but then to be able to go into the offseason feeling like he has a good, solid routine plan in place to build off of in 2015,” Cherington said.
There may be 37 games remaining on the schedule this year, but for a Red Sox squad that’s 15 1/2 games out of first place in the AL East, it’s already time to look forward to the offseason.
Possessing both a deep farm system and a multitude of talented players at the major-league level, the Red Sox certainly have the means and resources to orchestrate a quick rebuild this winter, possibly by contemplating landmark trades with other clubs.
For Boston general manager Ben Cherington, the offseason provides a multitude of avenues for the team to take en route to constructing a winning team in 2015, but he added that parting ways with some of the organization’s blue-chip prospects would only become a tangible scenario if the right offer presents itself.
“I don’t think we’ve ever been unwilling to trade prospects. … For the right player, of course we would consider trading prospects,” Cherington said. “Clearly, there’s some areas that we’d like to add to this offseason. We have to figure out what makes the most sense – whether that’s trying to add through free agency, trades. … There’s definitely times when a trade makes more sense than free agency, and there’s times when it’s vice-versa.”
One of the first prizes of the offseason may be claimed by the end of the week, as Cuban defector Rusney Castillo is reportedly “moving rapidly” towards a decision on signing with a team.
While he would not discuss Boston’s evaluation of Castillo, Cherington did acknowledge that the Red Sox have been one of several teams that have established an open dialogue with the intriguing outfielder.
Said Cherington: “There’s obviously been attention on this, he’s a player that we’ve seen and have talked to, but we’re just one of several teams that have done that, so there’s nothing more I can say about that.”
|Ben Cherington on D&C: John Lackey ‘did a lot for the Red Sox, and I think he’s happy where he is now’||08.07.14 at 9:51 am ET|
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning to discuss the state of the team and the fallout from the trade deadline fire sale. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
There has been some speculation that John Lackey pushed for a trade because he was not happy in Boston, upset with his contract that calls for him to be paid the major league minimum next year. The pitcher was sent the Cardinals last Thursday.
“Mostly what led to [the trade] is that he’s a really good pitcher and he’s on a unique contract, and that made him valuable to a team like the Cardinals, who understand that value, understand that having a guy who’s capable of pitching like that and making the minimum next year is a valuable guy to have,” Cherington said. “So they were willing to give up — we wouldn’t have traded both [Jon] Lester and Lackey without getting a) major league talent back and b) at least one major league starter back. That was sort of the standard.
“We’re all getting new information, and you get new information every day. I think John is happy where he is, and we wish him well. He did great things for us, certainly towards the end of the deal. He was on the mound for the clinching World Series game. I certainly hope that Red Sox fans and everyone around Boston’s sort of lasting memory of John Lackey is helping us win a World Series. That will be what mine is.”
Asked directly if Lackey wanted to leave, Cherington replied: “Look, I’m not going to get into every conversation I had with John Lackey. He did a lot for the Red Sox, and I think he’s happy where he is now.”
|Ben Cherington takes blame for hitting reset button: ‘Ultimately my responsibility’||07.31.14 at 8:44 pm ET|
Ever since his team began hitting the skids in Toronto, Ben Cherington has been losing a lot of sleep. On Thursday, he lost five players from a roster that won the World Series just nine months earlier.
The Red Sox hit the deadline at 48-60, 13 games behind Baltimore and in last place in the AL East. Cherington admitted Thursday that he needed to move quickly. He did by trading Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jonny Gomes, Andrew Miller and Stephen Drew, all of whom received 2013 World Series rings on opening day a little less than four months ago.
“I think it speaks to where we are as a team,” Cherington said. “It starts there, and there’s nothing celebratory about this. These moves are made because collectively as an organization we haven’t performed well enough — this year, anyway. So that precipitates the moves, and then, yeah, there is demand because we were in a unique position, because, despite the record of the team, we had a number of guys particularly pitching, performing really well and very recently playoff-tested.
“So it was a unique combination and we were able to add, I think that helped us, turn those guys into a lot of proven major league talent as opposed to just prospect deals. Prospect deals are typically easier to pull off Most of the time when you’re getting calls from contenders it’s hard to get proven major leaguers from contenders because typically it doesn’t make sense to give up proven major leaguers for a contender. I think the quality of our guys and the fact that they’re recently playoff tested helped us do that. There are other things we could have done but we felt like we did enough, nothing else really made sense to us.”
As the names entered the rumor mill, the idea became more and more confusing. Sure, dealing away players who would reach free agency after this season for assets who would remain in Boston beyond 2014 made sense, but when the names expanded beyond the likes of Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes and Andrew Miller to include players like John Lackey who will be under team control (at least in theory) beyond the 2014 season, it became a bit harder to make sense of what the Red Sox hoped to accomplish.
Was the team considering taking a wrecking ball to its veteran core? Had it compromised the notion of building for April 2015?
“I think we have every intention of competing to contend next year,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said on Wednesday afternoon, prior to his team’s 6-1 loss to the Blue Jays. “That’s not to say that we’re not looking to win as many games as we can this year. You may be looking for a specific answer because the question mark remains, who are the players that come back for individual players that we have now? We don’t know that yet. But I would hope that the team that is built for 2015 isn’t just based on those who are brought back in trades by tomorrow at 4 o’clock. This is an ongoing process that we continue to build.”
As it turns out, while the work of the Red Sox‘ roster rebuild for 2015 does indeed remain incomplete, the team has already taken a number of steps forward in that regard. Here’s what happened over the roughly 25 hours leading up to the trade deadline in the aggregate: Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox-Blue Jays series preview||07.28.14 at 3:09 pm ET|
The outlook of the 2014 season looks bleak for the Red Sox.
With just four days until the July 31 trade deadline and 10 1/2 games out of first place, it appears that Boston is ready to wave the white flag on the year and prepare to add assets for future campaigns.
“Anything we do between now and Thursday afternoon will be with a mind toward building as quickly as possible for April of 2015,” said Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington. “And so that might mean doing very little, it might mean doing a bunch of stuff. It might be between that. I don’t know yet.”
While Boston’s chances of making the playoffs continue to dwindle by the day, the Red Sox still have an opportunity to make up some ground in the division when they host the Blue Jays for a three-game series at Fenway Park.
While the Red Sox trend downward, the Blue Jays have looked resurgent coming out of the All-Star Break. Entering the break, Toronto had dropped eight of its last 10 games and had fallen to four games out of first place in the AL East. Even with injuries to key contributors such as Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind and Brett Lawrie, the Blue Jays have been able to battle back into contention for a playoff spot with a 7-3 record over their last 10 games.
“It is kind of a resilient group,” said manager John Gibbons said after Toronto’s 5-4 win over the Yankees on Sunday afternoon. “We have some guys that didn’t start with us, they’re getting some opportunities and they’re doing good things for us.
“That’s important, guys are filling in and they have to do the job for you. We were struggling going into the All-Star break, so playing better coming out of it was very important to us.”
The Blue Jays got the best of the Red Sox in their last series on July 21-24 at Rogers Centre, taking three of four from Boston and further knocking the Red Sox down in the division standings. Boston has struggled against Toronto this season, posting a 3-7 record against its divisional opponent.
Here are the pitching matchups for the three-game series.
Monday: Clay Buchholz (5-6, 5.50 ERA) vs. R.A. Dickey (8-10, 4.04 ERA)
Tuesday: Rubby De La Rosa (3-3, 3.54 ERA) vs. Marcus Stroman (6-2, 3.21 ERA)
|Ben Cherington: Sox trade moves focused on ‘building as quickly as possible for April of 2015′||07.26.14 at 6:18 pm ET|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — It’s been a tough time for a Red Sox team and front office that had bold visions of defending their 2013 championship. Just over 100 games into the 2014 season, all parties around the team have been forced to recalibrate their view of the world, to wonder what’s been missing en route to a season-long stumble that has the club nine games under .500 with just five games remaining before Thursday’s traded deadline, in a position where the team must contemplate selling off pieces of the club in hopes of putting itself in a better position for next year.
“It’s not the most fun,” GM Ben Cherington said in a conference call. “I much prefer the alternative.”
Yet the alternative no longer appears a choice. The team dealt right-hander Jake Peavy on Saturday to the Giants in exchange for two prospects. That deal wasn’t necessarily a reflection of a seller’s mentality, as the Sox have thought for weeks that parting with Peavy and turning his rotation spot to the team’s young starters did not necessarily represent a step back in 2014.
“He was a guy we were willing to listen on simply because as we looked at the team, we felt like there was some opportunity and value in giving some innings to one of the younger starters, and we thought that we could be just as competitive as a team in doing that,” said Cherington — who noted that the move to acquire Peavy at last year’s trade deadline was one he would make again without hesitation given the protection he offered to the rotation at a time when Clay Buchholz‘s outlook was uncertain. “And we knew that there would be enough interest in Jake to possibly get something back that we like and would help us down the road. He was one player on the team that we were willing to talk about earlier and it just so happened that it came together this week.” Read the rest of this entry »
|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|
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.”
|Red Sox GM Ben Cherington on team needs, talks with prospective free agents, youth movement||07.09.14 at 8:51 pm ET|
Red Sox GM Ben Cherington is well aware of the foremost issue facing his team. A Red Sox offense that led the majors in 2013 in runs per game is now dead last in the American League in that category, entering Wednesday’s game with 3.74 runs per night. Fixing that will be a focus for the Sox both leading up to the July 31 trade deadline and into the offseason.
“We need more offense, clearly. I still believe a lot of that is going to come from guys already here. But clearly offense has been an issue so we’d like to add to the offense so we’re going to look for ways to do that whether that’s now or after the season or both. We’ve got to find ways to improve the offense.”
With A.J. Pierzynski not hitting, the Sox felt that it was time to remove the catcher from the roster.
Cherington touched on several additional topics. Among them:
— Cherington said that the status of talks about contract extensions with prospective free agents could have some bearing on what the Sox try to do at the trade deadline. Read the rest of this entry »
After 90 games, it’s hard to assess the 2014 Red Sox season as anything but a failure.
A Red Sox squad fresh off a 97-win campaign that resulted in a World Series title was expected to once again establish itself as the cream of the crop in the American League this season -- not slump to the status of cellar dweller.
This is not the 1998 Marlins, who dropped from a 92-70 record (and a World Series title) in 1997 to a dreadful 55-108 season the following year due to a monumental fire sale. The 2014 Red Sox have a payroll of around $164 million and retained 17 of the 2013 team’s 25-man World Series roster.
Simply put, no one expected the Red Sox to be 12 games under .500 at this point of the season. General manager Ben Cherington is among those struggling to make sense of what has transpired.
Now 10 1/2 games behind first-place Baltimore in the AL East, the Red Sox have been put in a position that Cherington has not been familiar with — possibly taking on the role of “seller” as the trade deadline draws near.
“I think we’re in an unusual and perhaps unique position,” Cherington said. “It’s unusual in the sense that we haven’t been in this position — at least since I’ve been here — of even thinking about trading players at the deadline. So that’s unusual. It’s unique because on the one hand, our team is where it is. On the other hand, we’ve got guys on the team who are performing at a very high level who were part of winning a World Series months ago, and that just doesn’t happen often in baseball.
“Sometimes teams are sellers, but not necessarily with guys that are coming off of success like that. We’ll just have to see what happens. As I’ve said before, whatever we do will be with the mind of trying to get better as quickly possible and trying to build the next good team as quickly as possible.”
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