With David Ortiz and Cody Ross heading into free agency, the Red Sox general manager pinpointed re-signing the pair would be the priorities entering the winter. In fact, he's already started the dialogue.
"We've got a couple free agents we're talking to now," Cherington said. "David is a priority, and we've talked to Cody Ross also. I'm not going to comment anymore other than that, just to say we're talking to those guys. David is someone that we feel strongly about bringing back, and we're trying to figure out a way to do that. Cody fit in well and had a good year. It's an area of need going forward."
Cherington understands the pressure is on to piece together a lineup capable of contending in 2013. Last offseason, his marquee moves — trading for Andrew Bailey and Mark Melancon — haven't panned out just yet.
Despite their struggles, Cherington said he still believed in the pair. As the season ends, the general manager admitted his primary regret was his failure to stabilize the pitching rotation.
"You can parse out why or how and what we could have done differently, but the bottom line is that the performance of the rotation wasn't good enough to be the team we want to be," Cherington said. "So I didn't do enough to help that.
"You can start there with the offseason. During the season, the focus shifts, obviously, and it's a little bit more about managing the roster and trying to figure out how to make the pieces work. There's more of a collaboration. I haven't spent as much time on that. I've spent a lot more time on the personnel decisions we made and the ones that worked and the ones that didn't work, the ones that didn't work, why they didn't work."
While injuries also sidetracked the Red Sox, Cherington insisted more could have been done regardless.
"I don't think we're doing our jobs if we just decide if we just assign blame for the season to injuries," Cherington said. "As far as getting better, we really need to look more at the decisions we've made and, aside from that, the guys that were here and how we can help guys perform at their accustomed levels."
That will be the challenge come Thursday.