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Larry Lucchino on D&C: ‘I would say I am a little embarrassed’ by Red Sox’ overall performance 07.02.15 at 10:21 am ET
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Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino joined the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to talk about Rick Porcello, Hanley Ramirez and the team’s performance as a whole to this point in the season. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Red Sox looked to be on their way back up, winning three straight games, but that quickly came to an end when Boston lost to the Blue Jays 11-2 Wednesday afternoon. The loss was just the second time in the last 13 games that the Sox plated fewer than three runs and are still 8-5 over that span.

Still, being seven games back in the AL East and sitting at 36-44 on July 2 is not ideal.

“I would say I am a little embarrassed, particularly by the overall performance,” Lucchino said. “We expected much more, and I wonder what kind of conversation we’d be having today if we had won yesterday instead of lost and I’d come into this conversation with a four-game winning streak and a major uptick. We were six games behind yesterday with more than half a season remaining to be played, yet it still feels frustrating, it’s still disappointing.”

Part of the frustration, at least on Wednesday, was exacerbated by the trouble Rick Porcello has had on the mound. In his past eight starts the righty has posted an 8.18 ERA in that time, allowing 40 earned runs in 44 innings on 59 hits, while allowing nine walks and striking out 31. Opposing batters have slashed .335/.378/.528 against Porcello over that span, too.

On Wednesday, he gave up seven runs, all earned, in just two innings.

“I think it’s frustrating to be sure, no one’s more frustrated about his performance this season than Rick himself,” Lucchino said. “We’re not going to throw anyone under the bus. That may surprise you, we were all part of [signing and extending him], so if there’s going to be a bus accident, it’s going to involve several of us in the front office. But for the last several years, he’s demonstrated that he’s a quality major league pitcher. There’s a danger that we overreact to half a season, now that’s been a disappointing half season, no doubt about it, but we still have his track record to rely on and certainly hope that he’s going to bounce back at some point and show us the kind of performance we expected we would get.”

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Larry Lucchino on D&C: ‘It’s a little early to panic, but not too soon to make some individual player assessments’ 06.11.15 at 10:19 am ET
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Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino joined the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to talk about how the Sox are doing of late, as well as to discuss David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Despite Boston’s recent troubles, Lucchino said it remains too early in the year to condemn the team, though it is not too early to begin individual player assessments.

“[You have] 63 percent of the season left to play, and this season has been a bit of a roller coaster,” Lucchino said. “I would say to you last Sunday [against the A’s], we were all exhilarated. This team showed that it could play some good, smart, aggressive, heart-felt baseball and then what’s happened since then?

“We have a Monday to enjoy the offensive momentum and that dramatic victory, and then we lost a game on Tuesday on a wild pitch, and we lost the game yesterday to a very tough left-hander who’s beaten us with great regularity over the past several years, so I think it’s a little early still to panic but it is not too soon to make some individual player assessments.”

From an upper management’s perspective, Lucchino maintained there is some dissatisfaction with the way the season has gone, but that doesn’t mean he has any less trust in manager John Farrell and general manager Ben Cherington.

“I would say that we are frustrated,” Lucchino said. “I think John [Henry] captured it pretty well when he spoke last week regarding the faith we still have in the people whose role it is to put together this team. There is no questioning of their long term connection to this team, but there is a sense of frustration and disappointment.”

“We’re fans, too,” he added. “We get sick to the stomach when we watch certain games and certain outcomes and we get exhilarated as we were last Sunday. But the hardest thing is to demonstrate some patience with players and with a team that’s having its difficulties this year.”

Lucchino also addressed the criticism Hanley Ramirez continues to face in left field.

“It’s early,” he said. “We’re a couple of months into what is a four-year contract  and I think we need to chill out just a little bit. I think Hanley’s style lends itself to some criticism, but that’s not who he is. I think he is an intense and competitive and outstanding baseball player, and I think we should not misread his style.”

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Larry Lucchino on MFB: ‘We all share’ responsibility for Red Sox’ woes 06.03.15 at 1:28 pm ET
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Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino joined Middays with MFB on Wednesday to discuss the Red Sox and who bears responsibility for the team’€™s struggles. To hear to the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

On Tuesday, principal owner John Henry held a press conference to reinforce his confidence in manager John Farrell and general manager Ben Cherington and accept some responsibility for the team’s struggles. Lucchino echoed those sentiments of support and accountability.

“When it comes to free agency, payroll-setting, we all have a hand in this, so we all share it. I’ve worked with a lot of general managers in my lifetime and Ben is right at the top of the list in terms of his work ethic, his insight, his judgment and his knowledge of the game,” Lucchino said. “I don’t think it is fair to mention the last couple of years without mentioning the extraordinary job he did in 2013.”

Lucchino was equally effusive in his praise of Farrell’s qualifications and abilities as a manager.

“He has a track record with this organization. We know him. When I say track record I don’t just mean wins and losses, I mean years of experience, years of relationships, years of data that we can look at and say, ‘We know this guy.’ We have a sense of his intelligence, his judgment, his people skills,” Lucchino said.

Lucchino acknowledged that some players have not performed as well as expected. He attributes this at least in part to the unpredictability of baseball, and that it is impossible to accurately anticipate performances.

“It’s very hard to understand and to measure beforehand. The performances of some of these players have been utterly surprising. We’re not smart enough year in and year out to guess who those guys are going to be,” he said.

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Bobby Valentine on MFB: ‘I wasn’t able to establish the trust that was needed’ from Red Sox coaching staff in 2012 05.20.15 at 12:34 pm ET
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Former Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, who will return to Fenway Park on Wednesday night to make an appearance with ESPN’s broadcast team, checked in with Middays with MFB on Wednesday morning and discussed some of the controversies that ensued during his brief tenure in Boston. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Now the executive director of athletics at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, Valentine said he has no hesitation about returning to Fenway despite his inglorious exit after a 2012 season that included poor play on the field and numerous controversies off it.

“I could give a darn about anxiety,” he said. “I have a lot of friends that I left in Boston. I’ve been in Boston 15 times in the last couple of years. I’m excited about getting back there.”

Valentine was fired one day after a disastrous season in which the Sox finished last in the American League East at 69-92, but he insists he doesn’t worry about any regrets.

“I don’t really look back much at any of my life,” he said. “All I know is that it’s all about sevens — there was seven years in Texas and seven years in New York and seven years in Japan and seven months in Boston. It was all kind of fun looking back at all those things. But I don’t do the microscope. I try to look forward and enjoy what I’m doing today.”

Much was made of the issues Valentine had with his coaching staff that season.

“I think you hit on the key word there: trust,” Valentine said. “That was my mistake, that I wasn’t able to establish the trust that was needed throughout that entire group that were in uniform together. Whether it’s my fault or someone else’s fault, who knows. I’m not a blame-thrower. I can just tell you that when you bring me back to that year that probably the biggest problem was that I delegated the people who were going to speak my gospel, that they didn’t know the language that the gospel was written in.”

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Larry Lucchino on D&C: Red Sox have backup plan for starting rotation 04.30.15 at 9:48 am ET
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Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino joined Dennis & Callahan Thursday morning to talk about the Red Sox, specifically the starting rotation, and also touching on his possible involvement in Boston 2024. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Red Sox’ starting rotation has an ERA of 5.75, the worst in baseball. Four of the five starters have ERA’s over 5.16, with Wade Miley having the highest at 8.62. Lucchino said although it’s too early to make any changes, the team does have a backup plan.

“Of course there is because it’s a long season,” said Lucchino. “You have to have some potential help from your pitching in Triple-A in every season. I think we have some pretty good arms down there and Pawtucket is actually leading the league, part because the pitching has been quite effective down there. There’s that backup plan and then there is another backup plan.

“There’s an old saying, ‘I don’t cross tie my shoes without a backup plan.’ There has to be a backup plan. Third, of course is to acquire some pitching down the road when the opportunity comes for trades. That’s not really generally the case in April.”

Clay Buchholz has an ERA of 5.76 and is coming off a 2 2/3 inning performance Tuesday night when he imploded in the third inning allowing five runs after he was spotted a 4-0 lead. Lucchino is remaining optimistic.

“I’m actually optimistic about Buchholz and I am not known for my optimism in general,” said Lucchino. “I watched him the other night and I was amazed at the movement on his pitches. He has great stuff. Some would say that he left his pitches over the middle of the plate too often and apparently that was the case because he was hit pretty hard. I think if you just watch his pitches and you see what he can do, you wouldn’t want to give up on a player, a pitcher with that kind of talent, that kind of stuff.

“It does come down to stuff, both pitching stuff and the right stuff in your head and your body. I think he’s shown in the past that he has it and I think it would be terribly wrong to give up on Buchholz.”

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Larry Lucchino on D&C: Rick Porcello’s contract extension shouldn’t come as surprise 04.09.15 at 9:34 am ET
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Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino joined Dennis & Callahan Thursday morning to discuss the open of the 2015 season, and also the recent contract extension of pitcher Rick Porcello. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Porcello inked a four-year extension for $82.5 million on Monday. The right-hander is 26 years old, and a major reason for the organization extending him now was to get a pitcher in his prime years, as opposed to signing a pitcher closer to age 30.

“I think it shouldn’t surprise you, we’ve been talking for really for years of the prime time [of] pitchers in their 20s,” Lucchino said. “There are a lot of very good reasons for this contract. We’ll have to wait and see how it plays out, as there are no guarantees in this game, but Rick has the right stuff in both personality and character and pitching. He has a track record. He’s a guy that our pitching evaluators and our health evaluators are very strong opinionated about. He is 26 years old. I would also say you might have to step back a little bit and look at the entire portfolio of contracts that we have.

“We don’t have many long-term contracts and with this four-year extension we will have Rick for five years and we gave up a very good player to get him in [Yoenis] Cespedes. We will have Rick Porcello around for some time and that will give us a longer term contract that balances out the portfolio of contracts so you just don’t have all short-term contracts or too many long-term contracts. We have a pretty healthy balance in our player contract portfolio.”

As part of announcing his extension on The Players’ Tribune website, Porcello had a number of positive things to say of the Red Sox organization, including their Winter Weekend at Foxwoods in January.

“I did read that and I did think that was a very thoughtful and positive piece,” said Lucchino. “In fact I made sure it was distributed to folks in our front office to get a sense of it because there was a lot about it that was positive — his general view of how much we care about winning, the steps we take to make sure our players can be at their best. It was one little footnote to it that we enjoyed — we had our Winter Weekend for the first time this year and it was at that Winter Weekend that Rick got to know some of his teammates and he made specific reference to it as a way that he saw how this organization is set up and the personalities of his teammates and got a sense of both comfort and confidence from that Winter Weekend. For us that Winter Weekend was an experiment in late January to bring some baseball fever to our fans and it was enormously successful. It had a very important team building element to it.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

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Read More: Boston Red Sox, christian vazquez, Larry Lucchino, rick porcello
Tom Werner: Hype over Larry Lucchino is ‘tempest in a tea pot’ 02.25.15 at 3:15 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Tom Werner never knew a simple masthead could be so troublesome.

The Red Sox chairman was asked Wednesday about the continued role of Larry Lucchino in the organization after reports surfaced that Fenway Sports Group president Mike Gordon was listed above Lucchino on the corporate masthead, and just below John Henry and Tom Werner.

“I’ve never even seen a masthead in my life until it was shown to us [Tuesday] night,” Werner said. “Mike is involved with FSG and I don’t want to argue about whose name is above whose. But that was a mistake that we’re going to correct.”

The masthead leads one to believe that Gordon carries more power than Lucchino because Gordon is in charge of the parent company of the Red Sox. Gordon is in charge of many financial matters in the organization and helps run Liverpool of the Barclay’s Premier League. Lucchino is his counterpart with the Red Sox. Is there any difference?

“That’s a fair question,” Werner said in an attempt to clarify. “It’s not like I have reviewed the club directory. It probably was a mistake. We don’t have an FSG masthead. We should’ve created one. I really do think it’s a bit of tempest in a teapot.”

“And that was not a club directory,” Lucchino added. “It was a listing put out by the [MLB] central office, trying to figure out where FSG goes and where the Red Sox go. The official club directory comes out in the press guide, which is due out in a week or so.”

Overblown. That’s the way the two view the entire controversy over the power structure in the organization. Lucchino, who will turn 70 this season, feels his role is still the same.

“Tom and John are probably the best ones to talk about it,” Lucchino said. “To me, there’s not much of a story there. You’re better off hearing it from Tom or John. Mike Gordon’s role has evolved over time, to be sure. I was just saying to Tom that two years ago we were down here talking about Dustin Pedroia‘s contract, and Tom and I and Mike Gordon and Dustin’s representatives had a dinner together so he’s been involved in things over the years. I really don’t …”

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Read More: 2015 spring training, Boston Red Sox, Larry Lucchino, Tom Werner
Larry Lucchino on D&C: ‘My job is pretty much the same that it has always been’ at 10:07 am ET
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Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino stopped by for a visit with Dennis & Callahan from spring training in Fort Myers, Fla., on Wednesday morning and downplayed reports that his power may have been diminished in the front office. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Red Sox minority owner Michael Gordon has increased his importance since purchasing more shares of the team, but Lucchino explained that Gordon’s role is more crucial with Fenway Sports Group than the day-to-day operations of the Red Sox.

“Mike plays a new and different role than he played the first few years since he acquired a much greater interest,” Lucchino acknowledged. “John addressed that yesterday. Very active in FSG matters, particularly Liverpool. But we use him as a consultant on Red Sox matters. He’s got a terrific financial mind.”

As for Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy questioning if Lucchino is “losing a power struggle at Fenway,” Lucchino brushed off that assertion.

“He may hear rumors that he believes. Believe me, I can’t explain Dan Shaughnessy’s machinations, nor do I try,” said Lucchino, who turns 70 in September. “I certainly am getting older, that’s a fact of life. At some point there will be some changes. But I don’t know what Dan’s sources are and where he’s getting that.”

Lucchino is one of the members of the group that purchased the Pawtucket Red Sox, adding to speculation that he might be looking for another venture as he eases out of his role with the parent club. He says that’s not the case.

“It’s pretty much been the same situation that we’ve had for 14 years except that Mike is more involved now, his role in FSG has expanded,” Lucchino said. “But no, my job is pretty much the same that it has always been. And even the new Pawtucket responsibilities will be more advisory and ballpark-oriented and will not change my day-to-day job.”

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Morning Fort: Red Sox’ story being defined by boxing, yoga 02.17.15 at 10:25 am ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Another day at JetBlue Park, another wave of players.

Pablo Sandoval, who has been in camp sporadically in between working out in Miami, just stepped into the batting cage with Hanley Ramirez, Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley, Mookie Betts, Mike Napoli and Deven Marrero.

It was interesting to see Ramirez’s routine upon joining his teammates, immediately going to grab some boxing gloves before spending some time on the heavy bag. The bag is a fixture just outside the cages, so this would appear to be a regular thing.

Update: Ramirez said the workout is something he did back in 2013, skipping last year after suffering broken ribs. It’s a routine he plans on continuing, hence the installation of the bag.

— Speaking of alternative athletic endeavors, newcomer Robbie Ross Jr. told an interesting story regarding how he found out about his trade.

“I was actually going into Yoga,” Ross said. “I was literally walking into Yoga. We had just gone into do one of the poses to get loose, and then, boom, it was [Rangers general manager] Jon Daniels on the phone. It was with me and my stuff was just sitting there. So I went over and grabbed it.”

While Ross called it a day when it came to his Yoga that time around, his wife, Brittany, found it a perfect setting to digest the family’s life-altering news.

“For her to find out then was a lot less stressful,” Ross said. “I leaned in and said, ‘€˜Hey, I got traded.’€™ She leaned out for a second and then went back in. It was good because she was in her peaceful setting.

Rusney Castillo just before taking batting practice. (WEEI.com photo)

Rusney Castillo just before taking batting practice. (WEEI.com photo)

— Castillo seemingly has a few more muscles, along with a slightly altered hair color.

— Speaking to some folks about the Boston Globe item regarding a potential power struggle between Red Sox president Larry Lucchino and Red Sox owner Mike Gordon. One thing to keep in mind is that Gordon is actually already above Lucchino in the organization’s power structure. Gordon also isn’t the type who immerses himself in player evaluation, as Lucchino has done from time to time. The owner helps oversee a variety of the organization’s properties, not seemingly having much interest in the some of the responsibilities Lucchino currently is involved with.

The true story might be simply if Lucchino is contemplating moving on.

— To Joe Kelly’s credit, he isn’t backing off his Cy Young prediction.

“Everybody has is in them,” he said. “You just have to have a little luck and a little skill and it can happen. It’€™s not my main focus. My main focus is to throw 200 innings and you’€™re going to be in that running. It all starts with innings.”

— As much as highly-coveted Cuban 19-year-old infielder Yoan Moncada wants to sign and get to a team, it doesn’t appear as though the timetable set by his representation, David Hastings, will play out exactly as planned. Hastings had told ESPN.com that he had hoped to get something done for Moncada by Wednesday.

Read More: Larry Lucchino, Robbie Ross, Rusney Castillo,
Larry Lucchino on M&J on Jon Lester: ‘To a man, we were surprised we didn’t get into a sequential negotiation’ 12.13.14 at 1:34 pm ET
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Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino joined Mustard & Johnson Saturday at Fenway Park during Christmas at Fenway to discuss the Jon Lester contract negotiations and what went wrong, as well as other Red Sox matters. To hear the interview, visit the Mustard & Johnson audio on demand page.

Much has been made of the reported 4-year/$70 million contract the Red Sox offered Lester during spring training last season. Lucchino went into the reasoning behind that offer, and to the Red Sox it was only viewed as a starting point, as the organization wanted to have conversations following that offer.

“We did make a number of efforts to reignite negotiations and I think as Ben has said, we went in just to get the process rolling and we came up with a number — Josh Beckett had signed for $68 million for four years and that was the largest number for a pitcher we had ever given to a non-free agent,” Lucchino said. “We thought that was a principle place to start and that was all that it was perceived to be. For whatever combination of reasons there was a reluctance on the part of…”

“I think we all were surprised,” Lucchino added of the reluctance of the Lester camp to continue negotiating. “Matters of this type are shared along John [Henry], Tom [Werner] and Ben [Cherington] and myself and other folks in the baseball operations department. To a man, we were surprised we didn’t get into a sequential negotiation.”

Lucchino was also asked if he regrets what took place last spring, and he admitted he does because of the final result.

“I think the short answer has to be yes because we didn’t get the job done,” he said. “Our job was to get Jon Lester signed and to make him a long-term member of the Red Sox organization. This is a results oriented business. Finishing second is not our business plan. I wish it had developed differently. I don’t think it does us much good now to replay each step along the way. We felt when we started that we were beginning a negotiation would take place fairly intensively through spring training and perhaps into the season, but certainly through spring training, and that didn’t happen.”

Lester reportedly signed with the Cubs for six years and $155 million with a vesting option for a seventh year. The Red Sox have openly been reluctant to give out long-term deals of late, and that was something the organization was faced with during the Lester negotiations.

“We have to have one eye on the present and one eye on the future,” Lucchino said. “I would tend to think most baseball fans understandably focus on the next year, the next season. One of Ben Cherington’s jobs is, in fact it is a job for all of us in the senior leadership of the Red Sox, is to keep one eye on what is around the corner — the next couple of years, not right now. John Henry is a brilliant analyst. He’s also an imperialist. He looks and he sees what’s happened and puts it together and sees a track record that is less than encouraging with long-term deals in general.  He’s not the only one that has that view.”

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