|Larry Lucchino: ‘I believe the end of this year is a good time for this change’||08.02.15 at 12:10 pm ET|
Following the reports of Larry Lucchino stepping down as president as CEO of the Red Sox, Lucchino released a statement Sunday morning.
The statement reads:
As far back as 2004, the year of our first world championship, I started to plan for the day when I would want to cut back a little. I even inserted a clause to that effect in my contract.
Then, after the 2013 season, I had further conversations with John Henry, Tom Werner, and Mike Gordon regarding a time in the future when I might transition to a new role and reduce my responsibilities. After all, it’s a wonderful job, but it’s a demanding job.
I believe the end of this year is a good time for this change. We would have preferred to announce all of our transition plans at once, including my new role, but I can tell you we all feel strongly that Sam Kennedy, who has been with me for 20 years, should be the next President of the Boston Red Sox. Sam will do a terrific job. He is able, well-prepared, and fiercely dedicated to the Red Sox and to Boston.
I have been blessed to have outstanding partners, and I plan to continue working with John, Tom, Mike, Sam, and all of our partners in meeting the challenges that lie ahead for the Red Sox. I am also deeply proud of our extraordinary front office. They work together harmoniously and effectively, and each member has my gratitude, admiration, and respect.
I have now been President/CEO of the Red Sox for 14 years. I love the Red Sox, I love Fenway Park, and I love Boston. It’s my home. It’s never easy to leave a job you love, but I look forward to the next chapters.
|Sam Kennedy to replace Larry Lucchino as Red Sox president/CEO||08.01.15 at 7:48 pm ET|
Lucchino reportedly will be replaced by current Red Sox chief operating officer Sam Kennedy. The 42-year-old Kennedy, a Brookline native, is not believed to have a role in player acquisition in the manner Lucchino did since joining the club in 2002.
According to the Boston Herald, which first reported the story, the transition from Lucchino to Kennedy has already begun. A source reports that the move has been in the works since 2012, with Lucchino on board with the decision.
“The truth is Sam is an important part of this puzzle,” Lucchino told the Boston Herald. “He’s been working for me for 20 years, right out of college. He’s certainly my choice, as well as that of [principal owner] John [Henry] and Tom [Werner], to be promoted the position of president.”
“I don’t believe at all that this is the end of Larry’s relationship with the club, but the beginning of a more diverse role — one in which he can begin to enjoy some of the fruits of his labor,” Henry told the Herald. “He almost certainly will continue to mentor and push for excellence internally over upcoming years.”
It has long been rumored that Lucchino would be stepping aside from his current post, with the longtime baseball executive — who will turn 70 next month — seemingly wanting to diminish his workload. The current president/CEO hasn’t been as visible this season, with much of his focus turned to the the purchase of the Pawtucket Red Sox and that organization’s quest to build a new stadium in Providence.
|Larry Lucchino on D&C: ‘It’s ridiculous to be questioning David Ortiz’s integrity and commitment to this team’||07.16.15 at 10:15 am ET|
Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino joined Dennis & Callahan Thursday morning to talk about the Red Sox at the All-Star break, specifically David Ortiz. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Ortiz missed Sunday’s game prior to the All-Star break due to “upper respiratory” symptoms. Much was made of the designated hitter missing the game because it was a day he was likely to play first base, something he was on record saying he wasn’t in favor of doing with regularity.
Lucchino wasn’t pleased with what has been discussed in the media this week regarding the situation.
“I think it’s tempest in a teapot. I think it’s ridiculous to be questioning David Ortiz‘s integrity and commitment to this team,” he said. “He’s not only earned that respect over the years, he’s also a team leader. I think it’s ludicrous for the sports media to jump to those negative conclusions.”
“He said he didn’t want to play first with great regularity,” he added. “He didn’t say not that he didn’t want to, not that he didn’t think his body would hold up if that were required — he did go out there for a couple of games at first base when we needed him.”
Lucchino said team doctors instructed Ortiz not to stay at the park for the game.
“He’s got a problem that has the potential of contaminating the clubhouse. The last thing you want him to do is potentially affect other players with what could be a contagious issue,” he said. “I’ll leave that to the team doctors to make that judgement.”
The Red Sox are currently 6 1/2 games back in the American League East and have the third-worst record in the American League. Lucchino said the team is still waiting to see if they will be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline.
“I think it’s too soon to know what is going to happen at that point,” Lucchino said. “I am one to believe that there is a third alternative and that is you don’t have to be a major seller or a major buyer. You can be someone who goes out and does something to help your team not just this year, but in future years. I think we’re not throwing up any white flags by any means. We are going to go down to the trading deadline and see what we can do.”
“We aren’t at that point know where we are prepared to make that judgment,” he added of what they will be. “Again, if you look at the way the team has performed over the last month or six weeks, I wonder if we’d be having a slightly different conversation if we won the last game on Sunday. We’d be 4 1/2 instead of 6 1/2. It’s one game and I think that the decision will depend on where we stand a week or so before the trade deadline. We want to compete every year. We’re 6 1/2 back now, we were 6 or 6 1/2 back at the break in 2004. I’m not predicting the same kind of miraculous season, but I am saying we have been in this position before.”
|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|
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.”
|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|
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.”
|Larry Lucchino on MFB: ‘We all share’ responsibility for Red Sox’ woes||06.03.15 at 1:28 pm ET|
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.
|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|
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.”
|Larry Lucchino on D&C: Red Sox have backup plan for starting rotation||04.30.15 at 9:48 am ET|
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.”
|Larry Lucchino on D&C: Rick Porcello’s contract extension shouldn’t come as surprise||04.09.15 at 9:34 am ET|
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.
|Tom Werner: Hype over Larry Lucchino is ‘tempest in a tea pot’||02.25.15 at 3:15 pm ET|
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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