Ben Cherington Pulled Trigger Because Red Sox Needed ‘Bold Move’ Rather Than ‘Cosmetic Changes’

Ben Cherington Pulled Trigger Because Red Sox Needed 'Bold Move' Rather Than 'Cosmetic Changes'BOSTON — A new era is upon the Red Sox.

Red Sox general manager Ben
Cherington
emphasized the need for discipline during the 25-minute news conference Saturday announcing the decision to trade Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh
Beckett
and Nick Punto to the Dodgers.

He didn't mean discipline within the clubhouse — even though that may come, too — but rather discipline in spending. The Red Sox learned
quickly that luring superstar players doesn't always mean a winning culture.

"I think we recognize that we are not who we want to be
right now," Cherington said. "We needed to make more than cosmetic
changes, so as we look forward to this offseason … [it] required more of a bold
move to give us an opportunity to really reshape the roster, reshape the team."

Plus, it couldn't get much worse for the Red Sox. Despite
inking high-profile players in Crawford and Gonzalez to long-term deals during the
2010 offseason, the team has been mired in mediocrity dating back to last
September.

Saddled with a 60-66 record entering Saturday,
drastic changes appeared to be necessary. That included getting rid of hefty contracts for underperforming players.

"The
bottom line is that we haven't won enough games," Cherington said. "That
goes back to last September. We haven't performed on the field as a team. We've
had individuals perform, and this is not about the four players we gave up,
anything they did particularly wrong.

"It was up to us to go
take advantage of that opportunity, execute and go make good decisions. Again,
a lot of things go into winning. The roster is part of it. This is a
significant step towards giving us a chance to reshape what the roster looks
like."

Here's a reminder of the
contracts that were hamstringing the Red Sox: Crawford (seven years, $142 million), Gonzalez (seven years, $154 million) and Beckett (four years, $64 million).

But
the Red Sox won't completely embrace a small market approach. Moving forward,
Cherington said he simply plans to be more cautious in free agency. When necessary, he will spend cash.

"We
have created flexibility for us with this deal, and we'll take advantage of that
opportunity best if we are disciplined and aggressive at the right time on the
right deals for the right players," Cherington said.

That's the plan.

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