|Red Sox president Sam Kennedy: Pitching David Price in home opener ‘100 percent John Farrell’s call’||04.10.16 at 10:32 pm ET|
Perhaps the controversy will have died down a bit by the time David Price takes the mound Monday afternoon, but ever since John Farrell announced the ace would be pushed back a day, letting Steven Wright make Sunday’s start, there has been buzz.
Was this a mandate from above, such as Red Sox ownership, to get Price the start in the home opener? Why would there be such a priority to make sure the No. 5 starter, Wright, stayed on his regular turn?
While appearing at the second annual WEEI Baseball Round Table at the Cathedral Station Sports Bar and Restaurant, team president Sam Kennedy offered his explanation as to how things transpired.
“Selfishly, as someone who will be at Opening Day, I’m excited to watch David Price in person. I think ownership and those in the front office weren’t sure what was going to happen, but it was 100 percent John Farrell’s call,” Kennedy said. “I think the thinking was that you had right-handers going against a right-handed lineup, and No. 2, the knuckleball hopefully works better in the [Rogers Centre] dome, and No. 3, you want to keep the rotation early in the year. It didn’t seem to be that big of a deal, but I understand it has become a big talk radio issue, and I understand that any time you have David Price going.
“[Kennedy and ownership] were at Fenway and we heard from Dave Dombrowski who was with the club that that was the decision they had made inside the clubhouse. I can assure you that was not a decision that was mandated by me or John [Henry] or Tom [Werner] or anybody else. That was a baseball decision and hopefully it will work out.”
|Sam Kennedy on D&C: Pablo Sandoval, fellow Red Sox ‘expected to come into camp ready to go’||02.22.16 at 9:24 am ET|
Red Sox president Sam Kennedy joined Dennis & Callahan with Minihane on Monday morning from Fort Myers, Florida, where the team has assembled for spring training, and addressed the Pablo Sandoval issue. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The big story this week has been the arrival of a hefty Sandoval, who is coming off a disappointing 2015 but indicated he felt no obligation to arrive at camp in better shape than last season.
Kennedy said the bigger problem is the team’s lack of success, which he terms an organization-wide issue. But he said there was no confusion about expectations for players.
“I think what bothers me, what bothers all of our fans, everyone has a right to be bothered by our record last year. I think we were 78-84. That’s the issue. We didn’t get it done. Guys didn’t deliver. We failed collectively as an organization,” Kennedy said. “When that happens, especially followed by another down season in 2014, that’s the real issue. We failed to meet expectations.
“Coming into camp is all about being prepared, being ready to go, so you can then perform in the season and meet those expectations. So we’re coming off of two very difficult seasons.
“As it relates to player conditioning, let me be very, very clear: John Farrell, Torey Lovullo, the entire medical staff, the training staff, they meet with each and every player at the end of the season. They have an exit interview and they go through what the workout plan is going to be for the offseason. So there are expectations. Players are expected to come into camp ready to go and ready to perform. And if they’re not, they need to be held accountable throughout the course of the season. Dave [Dombrowski], Mike Hazen, those guys will deal with these issues as they come up throughout the course of the season.
“But look, it’s early, there’s a lot to be excited about in spring training, and we’re really looking forward to this year.”
|Red Sox president Sam Kennedy on OM&F: ‘The last thing in the world we want is someone getting hurt at Fenway’||12.10.15 at 2:33 pm ET|
Red Sox president Sam Kennedy joined Ordway, Merloni and Fauria on Thursday to discuss the new protective netting at Fenway Park, as well as the Red Sox‘ offseason. To hear the interview, go to the Ordway, Merloni and Fauria audio on demand page.
On Wednesday, Major League Baseball announced a recommendation for teams to add additional netting for the purpose of better fan safety. The Red Sox will comply and have protective netting that goes from dugout to dugout.
Kennedy explained in detail exactly what it means for Fenway Park.
“The current plan is to follow Major League Baseball‘s recommendations and just to be clear, first and foremost, they are a set of recommendations that commissioner [Rob] Manfred has come out with and we commend him and his team,” Kennedy said. “They have been working on this since last season and they have done a great job of engaging a lot of different experts, looking at it from a lot of different angles. They want balance to keep fans connected to the players around the dugout area. So the recommendation is to go from the inner wall of the dugout, so at Fenway, that would be dugout 29 across to dugout 61. The inner wall of each dugout around to the inner wall of the other dugout.
“What we don’t know right now is exactly what the screen, additional netting will look like given we’re working with the engineers to understand how we get that protection and coverage, at least 70-foot radius behind home plate that they are recommending. If I had to guess, it would be 5-6 foot high screen off the current field wall, but don’t hold me to that because we’re working on it now. Our current backstop has a field wall of three feet and then a nine-foot, eight-inch screen on top of it that extends all the back up to the EMC club, for comparison purposes. We’re working on it now, but we are going to follow the recommendations that the commissioner’s office put out — just this industry standard of a 70-foot radius to protect those sitting within a 70-foot radius of home plate with the expansion of the netting.”
Even with the protective netting, Kennedy acknowledged fans still need to be alert, especially in seats that don’t have the protective netting.
“Fans do need to be careful,” he said. “Balls come in, bats come in, so you have to be careful. We’re going to work with baseball to make sure we get that message out as well. The last thing in the world we want is someone getting hurt at Fenway.”
|Sam Kennedy on Larry Lucchino: ‘I’ve learned from the best mentor that anyone could ever have’||08.19.15 at 5:59 pm ET|
During new president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski‘s introductory press conference, Red Sox president Sam Kennedy made his first public comments on his promotion after it was reported a few weeks back that he would be taking over for Larry Lucchino following the season.
Kennedy said the plan had been in the works for years and he couldn’t have learned from a better person than Lucchino.
“I see the role as its primary focus is to support and provide resources so we can have the best baseball operation on the planet, number one,” Kennedy said. “Number two, I’ve learned from the best mentor that anyone could ever have and that’s Larry Lucchino, our president and CEO.
“He and I, along with John and Tom have been working on a transition plan for several years, actually. It became public a few weeks ago. I think everyone, all the employees of the Red Sox, salute Larry for his incredible leadership.”
Kennedy, who has been in the Red Sox’ organization since 2002, was also asked more about his role and what his primary duties would entail.
“We thank [Larry Lucchino] for that and we are ready to continue to honor the fundamental obligations and commitments that John [Henry] and Tom [Werner] and Larry made back in 2002, which is to field a competitive team, to preserve and protect Fenway Park, to enhance the customer experience here and to be active participants in the community,” he said. “Rest assured that’s not going to change with new leadership going forward.
“I am very excited to collaborate with Dave and all baseball operations, be there for them as a sounding board and a resource to make sure they have everything they need as we look to get the Red Sox back where they belong.”
For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.
|Sam Kennedy on M&F: ‘We certainly hoped that [Ben Cherington] would have stayed,’ but understand he wanted ‘clean break’||at 1:46 pm ET|
Red Sox vice president/COO Sam Kennedy joined Merloni and Fauria on Wednesday as part of the Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon to talk about the Red Sox‘ partnership with the Jimmy Fund and Dana Farber as well as the coming changes to the organization. To hear the interview, go to the Merloni and Fauria audio on demand page.
Kennedy described the opportunity to bring Dave Dombrowski into the organization as a “rare and unique” one, emphasizing how the new president of baseball operations is a “proven winner.” He, along with John Henry and Tom Werner, didn’t want interim manager Torey Lovullo to find out from the media, so the group went down and told him. Later, he, Lovullo and assistant general manager Mike Hazen addressed the team and told players about both Dombrowski joining the organization and Ben Cherington stepping down as general manager. Kennedy said he had hoped Cherington would stay on but understood his decision.
“John and Tom and I met with Ben,” he said. “We had a great conversation that was completely open and honest. And I think there was disappointment but an understanding that he didn’t want to remain in the in the general manager position. We certainly hoped that he would have stayed, but we also understand that he felt it was best to make a clean break. So we’ve got to move on, got to focus on what’s in front of us not what’s behind us, and I’m really excited for what’s ahead of us given the caliber of the executive that we’ve just added to our team.”
Kennedy said that Dombrowski’s introduction on Wednesday afternoon again signifies that he, Henry, Werner and the entire Fenway Sports Group are committed to winning.
“We are here with that central mission of playing meaningful baseball games in October, and we need to do everything in our power to strengthen that baseball operation,” he said. “We’ve got great people here in the organization, bringing in a man of Dave’s caliber with his experience. I think he came into baseball in 1978, been in the game 37 years. He is a baseball man through and through. I’m excited to work with him, I’m excited to see his style of leadership, and we’re going to begin that process [Wednesday].”
|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.
|Video: Red Sox executives take ice bucket challenge||08.22.14 at 7:41 am ET|
COO Sam Kennedy, speaking on behalf of the group, nominated the Pawtucket Red Sox, Liverpool FC and The Boston Globe to take the challenge.
David Ortiz was on hand to help douse the executives and other personnel with buckets of ice water.
|Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy on D&C: Fans ‘would completely understand a move towards the following year’||06.26.14 at 9:56 am ET|
Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy joined Dennis & Callahan Thursday morning to talk about the team’s status as a buyer or seller this season and the Padres’ apparent interest in Sox assistant general manager Mike Hazen. To listen to the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
While the Red Sox are one of the worst teams in the AL with a 36-43 record and sit six games out of a wild card spot, Kennedy stated that it’s too early to determine if Boston is going to be a buyer or seller at the trade deadline on July 31.
“I think it’s more of an eyeball, organic kind of thing,” Kennedy said. “I think we’re probably 29, 30 days away from the trade deadline. It seems to me, in my baseball experience, that as you get closer, the market starts to develop more and more each and every day. While it feels desperate right now for us, I don’t think we’re really going to know much until the market starts to develop and we play out the string here on the remaining games before the trade deadline.
“I really think so many teams, with the addition of the second wild card, are in this thing, so you really won’t see what good opportunities look like for several weeks now.”
Kennedy said that trading away certain players and calling up prospects such as Mookie Betts, Christian Vasquez and Garin Cecchini certainly is a possibility if the team is unable to improve in the near future.
“I think the strength of our organization over the last 13 years has been the willingness to recognize that value can be found at different times of the year,” Kennedy said. “We’ve invested heavily in the draft and scouting and player development, which has yielded some great major league talent for us on the Red Sox major league roster. We’ve also shown that we’re willing to make a big move at the deadline. … So we’ll see how it develops. We’ve got really, really smart people in baseball operations.
“Ben Cherington, Mike Hazen and the crew are going to see what develops here. They’re realistic, they’re very smart. They know that they have to take a short-term approach. We try to play baseball every year in October, that’s sort of our organizational goal, but they’re also smart enough to know that if you get down towards the deadline and there’s just a mountain that seems insurmountable, you may see them trade off some pieces and try and turn that focus for the long term.”
|Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy on D&C: ‘We all need a little bit of patience’ as team struggles through April||04.17.14 at 9:44 am ET|
Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning and said owner John Henry called manager John Farrell on Wednesday to offer his support during the team’s early season struggles. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
“I think repeating [as champions] is probably one of the hardest things to do in professional sports, and we are off to an awful start. While there have been some positives, it’s been really bad,” Kennedy said. “April, you really like to get off to a good start, so it’s been disappointing. People say, ‘Is there a hangover, is there a letdown?’ Whatever it is, you can really point to the basics. We’re not hitting. I think we’re hitting about a buck-fifty with runners in scoring position. We were 1-4 going into last night’s game in one-run games. That’s not going to last. [Dustin] Pedroia, [Will] Middlebrooks, now [Mike] Napoli, [Shane] Victorino missing time, Koji [Uehara]. It’s a lot of factors to point to. I think we need to have some perspective.
“I know for a fact that John Henry reached out to John Farrell and Ben Cherington yesterday just to say, ‘Hey, guys, it’s early, hang in there, things are going to be OK.’ Because you could tell how frustrated those guys are. And we all are. But we do have to have a little bit of perspective. This is our 13th year here together in Boston. Things will get better. Guys will start to hit. Again, the pitching’s been there. So, we all need a little bit of patience. And I know that’s hard for most of us.”
The other big Red Sox news over the last week relates to the negotiations for a new contract with left-hander Jon Lester. A recent report indicated the Red Sox made a lowball offer of about $70 million for four years.
“You have to remember, we’re starting from a place where the Red Sox, from John Henry on down to Jon Lester, want to make a deal. That’s the starting place. I think everybody feels good about that,” Kennedy said. “The problem with negotiations and details from baseball negotiations getting into the public domain when you have a leak like we did this past week related to this deal is one data point gets into the media, gets out there, gets dissected. I can tell you there are lots of other data points related to this negotiation that are not in the public spotlight, in the media. All I’ll say is that Ben Cherington, Jon Lester, Larry Lucchino, our ownership group will continue to work on this. And it’s clearly best when baseball discussions are kept private, and then baseball decisions are made public. That’s been our philosophy.
“Do we want to see Jon Lester in a Red Sox uniform for a long, long time? Absolutely, yes. As a fan, I hope that he is with us for a long, long time. We’ll see where things go over the coming weeks and months. But I’m hopeful that we do end up getting something done there.”
|Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy: ‘We are paid to do one thing, and that’s to win’||01.17.13 at 11:35 pm ET|
Red Sox executive vice president and chief operating officer Sam Kennedy, in an interview on WEEI’s Red Sox Hot Stove Show, disputed the suggestion found in published excerpts from former Sox manager Terry Francona‘s that the franchise’s baseball decisions started to be shaped by marketing concerns. Instead, Kennedy stated that the Sox’ mission is defined by the team’s on-field success, with marketing (and concerns such as NESN’s broadcasting success) serving that goal, rather than vice-versa.
“Great sports organizations, great ownership groups like ours, have one goal, and that is to win baseball games. We’ve been here for 11 years together. Our group’s won two world championships, we’ve had six postseason appearances, we’ve won over 1,000 baseball games,” said Kennedy. “The business side, the baseball side and the community outreach side all need to work together to achieve that common goal of winning games.
“To be clear, the way that I view the world, I can speak for myself, is that we on the business side are here to support and provide the necessary resources to the baseball operations group to do everything in their power to field a team that does one thing, and that is win. Winning baseball games is and always has been the central mission of the Boston Red Sox since we’ve been here, and I think that John Henry and Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino have demonstrated an incredible track record of doing that. I know that I’m really proud to be a part of the organization. I know that [former GM Theo Epstein] was proud to be part of this organization, as was Tito. I certainly wish them both well.”
Asked if he’s seen a change in the team’s operating philosophy in recent years, Kennedy suggested he had not. He said that the biggest change in the organization has been its performance on the field rather than what is transpiring inside the team’s offices. Read the rest of this entry »
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