|Red Sox president Sam Kennedy on OM&F: Having available starting pitchers ‘a good spot to be in’||08.24.16 at 2:09 pm ET|
Red Sox president Sam Kennedy called in to the Ordway, Merloni & Fauria show on Wednesday to discuss the solid play of the pitching staff and possible Fenway renovations. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.
The Red Sox now have a good problem on their hands, as they likely will have six viable starting pitchers available once Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez are back to full health. Clay Buchholz made his claim for a spot in the starting rotation after holding the Rays to one run on five hits in 6 1/3 innings in a 2-1 Boston win on Tuesday. Buchholz struck out a season-high nine batters in the performance.
“It’s been a really tough year for him, up and down, and I’m just so pleased that he was able to contribute,” Kennedy said. “We always talk about having deep depth in that rotation, we’ve had to go down to the minor leagues, we’ve had to bring in guys from the outside, and it takes a huge amount of effort from all across the organization to make the postseason. That’s the goal, and hopefully the guys will keep contributing the way they have, especially over this really difficult road trip where the team’s playing really well.”
Kennedy said that there is “a lot of advocating going on” by the guys who believe they earned a spot in the starting rotation.
“These guys are competitors,” Kennedy said. “They’re major league players, when your job, your career is to be a starting pitcher in the major leagues, you want to fight like you-know-what to keep that position. I think that’s what we’ve seen in the last couple of outings from different guys. You want to be in that rotation going every fifth day, it’s hard to be mentally prepared when your not certain about when your turn in the rotation is going to come.”
Added Kennedy: “We’ll have to see how it plays out, it’s a good spot to be in, it sounds like Wright will swap back in, Eddy Rodriguez will swap back in if all continues to go well. There’s been no formal announcement yet, but health is the big thing and right now [manager John Farrell] and [president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowksi] and [general manager Mike] Hazen have a couple of hard decisions to make over the next couple of days, as they deliberate how to line things up here down these final 37 games.”
|Red Sox president Sam Kennedy on OM&F: David Price ‘knows he’s not performing at the level that we all expect him to perform at’||07.27.16 at 1:49 pm ET|
Red Sox president Sam Kennedy joined the Ordway, Merloni & Fauria show on Wednesday to discuss David Price’s pitching struggles and other team news. To hear the interview, visit the OM&F audio on demand page.
Price, the 30-year-old former Cy Young winner who signed a seven year, $217 million deal with the Red Sox this offseason, has not yet lived up to those expectations, totaling a 9-7 record and 4.51 ERA and allowing the most hits in the American League. Despite this struggle, Kennedy has been impressed with Price’s accountability and says he believes the lefty will make the adjustment and turn his season around.
“As an organization, when you give out a contract like this you have a certain level of expectations,” Kennedy said. “When you fall short of expectations it’s disappointing for everybody. One of the things I love about David Price is just how accountable he is, and I know you can say, ‘Look, we’re tired of hearing I’ve got to do better, I’ve got to be better,’ but that’s him. He owns it, he’s knows he’s not performing at the level that we all expect him to perform at. We truly feel that he’s going to get better.
Added Kennedy: “If you look back to 2006 when Josh Beckett came in and he had that ERA over 5.00 and he really struggled in that first year with us, then helped march us to a World Series in 2007. I think there is an adjustment period, this is not an easy place to play, it’s a difficult market, and it’s hard. … I really do think he’ll get better, and we expect a lot out of David Price, obviously the commitment that we made. He’s been accountable, we own it, and let’s hope that he turns things around here.”
Kennedy added that plenty of stars go through tough periods in their careers, including a former Boston ace who is now in the Hall of Fame.
“I remember when Pedro [Martinez], maybe the greatest right-handed pitcher on the planet, went through periods where he struggled in the first inning and second inning,” Kennedy recalled. “I remember sitting around the office and saying ‘Boy, if we could start the game in the third inning, Pedro would throw a no-hitter every single day.’ He went through difficult periods, it’s hard. This game can be so confounding. You look at what [White Sox pitcher] James Shields has done the last four or five outings, the guy’s got like a 1.70 ERA and he had like an 11.00 ERA. This sport is harder than any other sport. … It really is difficult, and we don’t have all the answers, we work hard to try and put as much of an effort forward to put these players in a position to succeed. When they don’t, we own that, that’s on us, and we need to do everything we can to get better, and I can tell you we’re working hard to do that.”
|Red Sox president Sam Kennedy on OM&F: ‘The focus is on improving the pitching’ before trade deadline||07.06.16 at 2:26 pm ET|
Red Sox president Sam Kennedy joined the Ordway, Merloni & Fauria show on Wednesday to discuss the team’s pitching struggles and the job security of John Farrell. To hear the full interview, visit the OM&F audio on demand page.
The Red Sox are coming off of a 7-2 loss Tuesday night against the Rangers in which David Price and Craig Kimbrel failed to dominate like they have in the past. The Red Sox rank 10th in team ERA (4.51), suggesting that a move for pitching help may be necessary.
“I just walked out of a meeting with [Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski] and [general manager] Mike Hazen and I can tell you the focus is on improving the pitching,” Kennedy said. “From our fourth and fifth spots in the rotation, our ERA is over 7.20, that’s hard to fathom. All that being said, we’re still in the thick of this thing, but it is frustrating to be sure, especially when you lose a game like last night when you’re on a little bit of a roll then you take a step backwards, so it’s frustrating.”
In Tuesday’s loss, Price gave up a home run on the first pitch of the game, and he allowed another run later in the inning. The outing was the latest example of Boston’s first-inning issues, as the team often falls behind and has to play catch-up. Kennedy admits to being frustrated by the first-inning funk but says he is not disappointed in any one player.
“It has been frustrating with these first-inning explosions from the other team,” Kennedy said. “I don’t have an answer for you, I don’t have an explanation other than to say you got to love David Price’s accountability. You got to love the fact that he’s leading all of baseball in innings pitched. … He’s got to be better, we all have to do better, and we believe that’s exactly what’s going to happen as we head to the second half.”
Added Kennedy: “I don’t think we’re disappointed in any one individual player, we’re a few games back, 45-38, not where we want to be. If the season ended today, we’d be in a one game wild card playoff. That’s really not where we want to be, we want to win this division. To say we’re disappointed is a bit of an overstatement, I think we aren’t where we want to be, we want to win this division, let’s be clear. Everybody feels that in the clubhouse and everybody feels that in the office, that’s the goal. So right now, we have our work cut out for us in front of us, and we have the right guys to get it done.”
|Red Sox president Sam Kennedy on OM&F: ‘There will be a lot of outbound calls’ before the trade deadline||06.15.16 at 2:06 pm ET|
Red Sox president Sam Kennedy called into the Ordway, Merloni, & Fauria show Wednesday to talk about the approaching MLB trade deadline and other team news. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.
Although the Red Sox are a game out of first place in the American League East, it’s become evident that there are some holes in the team that needs to be addressed. With the trading deadline on July 31, many expect the Red Sox front office to be busy in the coming weeks, and Kennedy expects that as well.
“I think we’ll certainly be aggressive in terms of preparation and the work that goes into it,” Kennedy said. “In my experience, it seems to always come down to those last couple of days, last couple of hours. I think [president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski] and [general manager Mike Hazen] and our great team of baseball operations will do whatever they think needs to be done to get us where we want to be, which is a playoff team. We’d really like to win the division, given the uncertainty around the playoff format.”
When looking at potential trades, the Red Sox will be led by Dombrowski, who joined the team last summer. He has a knack for making big trades, and Kennedy trusts him to make the team better for the final stretch of the season.
“One of the things about [him] joining us in August, it was extremely helpful from a competitive standpoint,” Kennedy said. “Dave has had a long time to evaluate things at the major league level and throughout our farm system. … This guy eats, sleeps, and breathes baseball. When he’s not traveling with the team, he’s visiting minor league affiliates. He’s really gotten to know everyone throughout the entire organization, so I think that will prove to be very helpful as he evaluates trade opportunities alongside Mike Hazen and everyone in baseball operations.
Added Kennedy: “We’ll see, I think there will be a lot of activity and intrigue in the Red Sox, just because of the amazing job our baseball operations have done in terms of drafting and developing players. It’s no secret that we have a lot of ability throughout the minor leagues and so there will be a lot of incoming phone calls, and there will be a lot of outbound calls as well. It will be a busy time over the next 45 days.”
|Red Sox president Sam Kennedy on OM&F: ‘I haven’t heard anything to the contrary’ regarding David Ortiz’s retirement||05.18.16 at 12:58 pm ET|
Boston Red Sox president Sam Kennedy joined Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Wednesday morning to discuss David Ortiz’s retirement and other team news. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.
Kennedy called into the show from the MLB owners meetings in New York to talk about David Ortiz and his final season in a Red Sox uniform. The 40-year-old designated hitter is having a great season, batting .311/.395/.674 with 10 home runs and 33 RBIs. There’s plenty of speculation that Ortiz could play another year for Boston, considering his high level of play.
“I haven’t heard anything to the contrary, but it is a little bit remarkable to consider what this guy’s doing,” Kennedy said. “One of the things we’ve been chatting about is when you announce [that] you’re retiring, every moment is a big moment, and this guy lives for the big moments. I do think that’s factoring in here. He’s soaking it all up as you would expect David Ortiz to do. But to put up the numbers he’s putting up and the clutch hits is just remarkable and really is what he’s done his entire career in a Red Sox uniform. We feel fortunate to just [have] been around this incredible era and it’s really fun to watch.”
Kennedy also described the moment he first discovered that the slugger had plans to retire.
“David handled it exactly the way you think he would have. I got a call from his marketing agent, Alex Radetsky, who’s done a lot of work with making sure that David had the right cell phone number for John Henry. David called John directly to tell him. I believe it was back in early November if I recall, and he had made the decision, it was his decision alone. We were surprised, and I remember it was around the time of the owners meetings in Dallas, and we chatted a little bit about what it would be like in a post-David Ortiz era, which was none of us really wanted to think about, and that’s the week we went to Nashville to meet with David Price.
“It was a very busy time, it was surprising to us, but it was exclusively David’s decision. One of the things he said to John, he really did say, ‘I want to go out while I’m feeling good and have an incredible season, I want to try and win another World Series and go out on top.’ Who knows what the future brings, but this has been a very special season. It’s obviously early, but we’re all enjoying the ride with David. He’s provided us with so many memories in our time here, and this year’s no exception.”
Added Kennedy: “I think [Ortiz’s retirement] is a conversation that will just naturally have to come out, giving what he’s been doing. But I can tell you there has been no conversations about 2017, and we haven’t heard anything from David other than what he told us in the offseason. … He’s just meant so much to this franchise, and off the field, everyone knows what he’s done off the field. He’s a wondrous, once-in-a-generation-type player, and it’s going to be hard to think about a post-David Ortiz era, but right now we’re focused on 2016 and the task at hand.”
|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].”
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