|Larry Lucchino on the state of the Red Sox||02.14.13 at 4:48 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino, in a 30-minute media session, fielded questions on all things Red Sox. He expanded on comments made earlier in the week by team principal owner John Henry, who suggested that the team had shifted away from the core philosophy that had yielded six playoff appearances in seven seasons between 2003-09, and that a course correction is now in effect.
Lucchino highlighted the team’s basic emphasis of on-base percentage and long at-bats that drive up the pitch counts of opponents as centerpieces of the philosophical drift.
“[Henry] feels pretty strongly that we deviated from a basic philosophy of grinding relentless at-bats deep in the count, on-base percentage, some of the fundamental things that got us to the success we had. We have fallen considerably,” said Lucchino. “We used to have incentives in contracts relating to on-base percentage to show you how important we thought it was. I think there was kind of a deviation from that, somewhere along the way.”
Asked why that deviation occurred, Lucchino offered the following.
“I think it kind of grew gradually, and if you’re not ever-vigilant, that can happen to the organization. That’s one factor,” said Lucchino. “Perception that everybody now gets it, everybody now understands it, and don’t we have to look for some new metric or approach? And we in some ways outsmarted ourselves. Those are two of the factors.”
Among other topics: Read the rest of this entry »
|Ben Cherington on Jacoby Ellsbury, Cody Ross, Jerry Sands and the market for pitching||12.05.12 at 8:19 pm ET|
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — It’s been a relatively quiet day on the trade rumor front for the Red Sox, to the point where the most interesting items to come out of GM Ben Cherington‘s nightly media session at the winter meetings related to activity of the first couple of days.
Foremost, while Cherington did not discuss the agreement that the team reached on Tuesday with outfielder Shane Victorino, he did make clear that in the aftermath of a signing that gives the Sox a second potential center fielder, he is not looking to trade Jacoby Ellsbury.
“You answer the phone and take the calls and listen to ideas. Our expectation is Jacoby will be here and be our center fielder,” said Cherington. “[Dealing Ellsbury] is not our intent. We’re expecting Jacoby to have a really good year in 2013 and be a huge part of what we’re doing.”
As for the level of interest in his center fielder, Cherington said, “I wouldn’t comment specifically. We have a number of guys who are really valued by other teams, so weve been asked about a number of guys. We’re not looking to move guys off our roster. We’re looking to add talent to the roster, not move guys off at this point. We’ll see. You’ve got to listen and learn and have the conversation. We wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we didn’t at least have the dialogue and gather the information and see what other teams are interested in doing.”
Secondly, Cherington said that he met with a player during team meetings. Colleague Rob Bradford confirmed that Cherington and manager John Farrell met with outfielder Josh Hamilton on Monday.
A few other notes:
– Though Cherington said that he hasn’t talked to outfielder Cody Ross since signing Victorino, he didn’t rule out the possibility of bringing back the corner outfielder who performed so well in Boston last year on a one-year, $3 million deal.
“We’re open-minded about it. See where it goes,” the GM said. “I guess that any time you potentially add a player of sort of significant commitment dollar-wise, it makes it a little bit tougher to add more, but I don’t want to rule anything out. We’re still looking to improve the team.”
|David Ortiz on fixing Red Sox: ‘We need some thunder in that lineup’||11.30.12 at 8:46 am ET|
David Ortiz, general manager … sort of.
For the designated hitter, figuring out roster moves haven’t been a priority. There has been a charity golf tournament to help organize — which will run from Dec. 6-9 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic – and an Achilles tendon to tend to. (Ortiz notes that while he isn’t fully healed, his recovery remains ahead of schedule.) These are the things that have taken up most of Ortiz’ time in recent days.
Still, like most who follow the Red Sox, the DH has some ideas when it comes to fixing this 69-win team.
“I’ve been a little disconnected, but it’s not a surprise for anyone who follows the Red Sox that we need some thunder in that lineup,” he said when appearing on “The Hot Stove Show” on WEEI Thursday night. “The problem is that there isn’t too many out there. That’s one thing. I’m pretty sure everybody needs to be a little patient. We have the winter meetings coming up and a lot of decisions get made right after the winter meetings, so hopefully they come out with some decisions.
“We need some power. You guys saw how the team went down in power right after I was injured. Our pitching needs some adjustments in some spots.”
Ortiz’ point regarding the team’s power is well taken, especially considering the Red Sox hit a combined 64 home runs after the DH left the lineup on July 15, putting the Sox’ 20th in the majors. They also were 22nd in OPS during that span (.684). Prior to the Achilles injury, the team had the fifth-best OPS (.768) and eighth-most homers in baseball.
The DH was also asked about any concerns he might have had regarding free agents choosing to come to Boston, with the Red Sox serving as less of a desired destination than years past. The team was reminded of the dynamic recently when one of Ortiz’ good friends, Torii Hunter, prioritized going to a team that would seemingly be set up to win right away (in the Tigers).
“With the situation we’ve been facing the last couple of years, probably,” said Ortiz said regarding if there would be somewhat of a new challenge for the Red Sox this offseason.
“It’s like I tell everyone, but at the same time they’re not expecting you to be like Babe Ruth or Ted Williams. If you come through like that, great. But if you come and play in Boston and you stay on top of your game, try to make a difference every day, and come with the attitude to play hard, the fans will appreciate that.”
One free agent whom Ortiz is clearly a big proponent of bringing back in the fold is outfielder Cody Ross.
“I think Cody should have an opportunity to come back,” the DH said. “He played in the toughest time we were going through and he handled himself pretty good. He did a great job. He’s a great teammate. He’s a great, great teammate, and he’s a guy who cares. Me, as a player, that’s what matters to me, when you have guys who are about winning, who care about coming in every day and trying to make a difference. That’s the type of player I like to have around and that’s the type of player this organization needs. Cody did all of that throughout the year.”
|Ben Cherington on Red Sox Hot Stove Show: Building the ‘next great Red Sox team’||11.02.12 at 8:13 am ET|
Halloween enjoys a place of some infamy in the Red Sox front office. The memory of Theo Epstein resigning and leaving Fenway Park in a gorilla suit in 2005 still lingers, seven years later. Still, there have been no known repeats of such an incident, and this year, Epstein’s successor, Ben Cherington, opted for a look best described as “hard-working Red Sox front-office member.”
“My costume was a pair of khakis and a collared shirt, sitting around in the office very late,” Cherington said on the Red Sox Hot Stove Show on Thursday night.
There likely will be many more such nights given the goals articulated by Cherington and the challenge of achieving them. Now just over a year into his tenure as Red Sox GM and coming off the disappointment of a 69-93 record, Cherington talks often of what the end game is for a team in transition. He talks of building “the next great Red Sox team,” a goal that will require both considerable effort and, to his mind, patience to address the numerous deficiencies that emerged in 2012.
What, Cherington was asked, does he mean when he discusses his aspirations?
“It’s a team that gets on base more. It’s a team that’s strong up the middle. It’s a team with guys that want to be here. It’s a team with pitching that’s aggressive and attacks the strike zone. It’s a team that can do that over the course of a six-month season, and that grinds through the tough periods. All the things that made us good in the past. Our best teams I think had a lot of the qualities I mentioned,” said Cherington. “Those teams are not built overnight. If you lose 93 games, it means you’re a ways away from that team. We feel like we have some of the pieces necessary to be that kind of team. We think that we have more on the way in the farm system, so we’ve got to be protective of the guys in the farm system that we most believe in and we’ve got to be selective about the types of guys we bring in. Read the rest of this entry »
|Cody Ross and the pursuit of a Josh Willingham deal||10.29.12 at 2:51 pm ET|
Cody Ross counts outfielder Josh Willingham as one of his closest friends in baseball. Both achieved status as big league regulars with the Marlins in 2006, when Willingham made a splash as a 27-year-old rookie who swatted 26 homers and Ross finally getting a big league opportunity with a Marlins team that acquired him for $1 from the Reds, hitting 11 homers in 91 games with Florida while showing the ability to play all three outfield positions.
The two outfielders spent three years together with the Marlins, but after the 2008 season, he was dealt to the Nationals, spending a couple years in Washington before going to Oakland in 2011. Ross, meanwhile, remained with the Marlins until 2010 before he was sent on a waiver claim to the Giants for the stretch run that yielded an unforgettable October. He remained in San Francisco for 2011, living near his former Marlins teammate.
But after the 2011 season, both Ross and Willingham found themselves on the same team — which is to say, none at all. The two were free agents, albeit ones in strikingly different boats.
Willingham had a strong walk year with the A’s, smashing 29 homers and driving in 98 while hitting .246/.332/.477/.810 in 136 games as a 32-year-old. Ross, as a 30-year-old, put up far more modest totals, hitting .240/.325/.405/.730 with 14 homers in 121 games for the Giants in 2011. Read the rest of this entry »
|Larry Lucchino on D&C discusses whether Cody Ross, John Lackey or Alfredo Aceves might return||09.20.12 at 1:04 pm ET|
Red Sox CEO/president Larry Lucchino, in an interview with the Dennis & Callahan show on Thursday morning, addressed how a number of Red Sox players might fit into the club in 2013. Perhaps most noteworthy was Lucchino’s acknowledgement that there remains an open question whether Alfredo Aceves — who was suspended once for conduct detrimental to the team, and for whom a second suspension was considered but deemed unnecessary after took a backdoor exit from the mound during a pitching change to avoid passing manager Bobby Valentine — will be brought back to the Red Sox.
“[A decision regarding his role as a starter or reliever] will be made next spring by whatever team he is with. Maybe he’s with us. We’ll see. Maybe he’s elsewhere. It’s a little early to answer that question,” said Lucchino. “We have so far [put up with his activities]. … He is a valuable pitcher. His track record over the course of his major league career has been very impressive.”
Additional highlights from the interview:
On John Lackey’s potential to contribute to the rotation in 2013: “All the information that I’ve been getting has been quite positive about his health and his current state of readiness. … We do have a guy who is a double-digit winner in the big leagues and who has been a horse.
“I’ve seen a number of players come back with much stronger arms and played very effectively [from Tommy John surgery],” he added. “We have seen evidence that this has been a very effective procedure.”
On the team’s interest in bringing back Cody Ross: “We love Cody Ross. He is someone that was, I think, one of [GM] Ben Cherington‘s best offseason acquisitions. When we saw him in spring training, several of us predicted that he would be a very popular player because of his style, personality and power. He has proven to be just that. We’d love to have Cody Ross come back and play for this team in future years. We’re at the beginning stages of that process.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Cody Ross on Darin Mastroianni’s 10th inning double: ‘I feel like I should have caught it’||08.04.12 at 7:30 am ET|
When the ball came off of Darin Mastroianni’s bat in the top of the tenth, it looked as if it would be a close call for either Cody Ross or Jacoby Ellsbury to make the catch. It was indeed a close call, but it went in favor of the Twins as the ball landed in the gap and gave Minnesota a runner in scoring position with nobody out.
It was a play that proved costly for the Red Sox, as Jamey Carroll singled home the eventual winning run two batters later. For Ross, it led to regret.
“I feel like I should have caught it,” Ross said. “Any ball that is hit my way I feel like I should catch.
“It’s tough to defend the whole field. It’s a big field out there. I caught a couple balls down the line that could have easily been triples, but that one drops in and it just so happens that it’s in a big part of the game. It was just spotlighted.”
Ross, who went 2-for-5 with a double and a run in the game, said that neither he nor Ellsbury called for the ball, but even so he felt as if he should have caught it.
With the Red Sox having lost three in a row, especially after a loss in which the team could not hold onto its four-run lead to lose in extra innings, Ross said that this most recent step backward for the team was frustrating.
“Any time we lose it’s old,” he said. “Obviously we want to win every single game that we can accomplish, but – we feel like we are a better team than this, and it’s frustrating. It’s a tough time now.
“Talent can only go so far. You have to figure out ways to win. There is a difference between being a really talented group and being a winning group, and on paper it looks like that, but right now it feels like we are treading water. It’s not a good feeling. We have to snap out of it.”
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