12:00 a.m.: Ben Cherington took some tough questions from the crowd with one on the decision to sign Mike Napoli over Adam LaRoche and another on why they didn’t sign Cody Ross. Cherington said the team offered three deals to Ross and ultimately the Diamondbacks offered a better deal.
Cherington said Napoli’s swing is well designed for Fenway, and they liked his patience at the plate. He said the decision not to sign LaRoche came down to the fact that they would have to give up a draft pick. The pair spoke about the minor league system a lot during the Red Sox Town Hall and it’s important to use the draft to build that system.
Cherington also spoke on the decision to trade for Joel Hanrahan. The bullpen was not a priority coming into the offseason, but they liked the value they could get out of Koji Uehara and Hanrahan. Cherington said Boston’s offer to the Pirates for the closer matched up well and that they also like Brock Holt, the prospect they got in the deal.
John Farrell spoke on the decision to name Hanrahan the closer now rather than during Spring Training. He said he’s been in that position before and he prefers players to have a certain mentality coming into the spring. He also said that just because a player has a role now, doesn’t mean he’ll still have it entering the season.
Farrell and Cherington were also asked a couple of historical questions. For an all-time Red Sox starting rotation, together they picked Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens, Jon Lester and Luis Tiant. Tom Caron joked that Cy Young was on line two.
Farrell was asked about the managers he had through his playing career and what qualities he took away from them. He said that Doc Edwards was like a father figure to him and that he reminded him a lot of his dad. He said that John McNamara was a players’ manager and that he turned a lot of decisions over to the players.
Overall, Farrell and Cherington are both very confident heading into spring training. They’re happy with the clubhouse chemistry they’ve built and the quality of players they’ve signed.
11:43 p.m.: Last season, the Red Sox made a difficult decision when they traded Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox. Cherington spoke about that trade at length at the Red Sox Town Hall. He said that if hindsight were 20-20, he may reconsider the trade.
After Boston made the Adrian Gonzalez trade in August, there was a hole at first base, one that Cherington says the team is still trying to fill.
At the time, Cherington didn’t see a way to deal with the situation the Red Sox were in with Gonzalez, Youkilis, Will Middlebrooks and David Ortiz that would work out productively and in the clubhouse and that would be fair to Youk.
John Farrell also says he has already identified Jon Lester’s issues and they’re all mechanical. If anyone can fix Lester, in John we trust.
11:31 p.m.: John Farrell praised the Red Sox ownership, saying that from 2002 on, this team has been second to none as far as what it’s accomplished. He said the focal point this season will be winning and concentrating on winning each and every game. Sounds a little like Bill Belichick down in Foxboro. Farrell also said he was surprised Craig Biggio didn’t get into the hall of fame.
Ben Cherington spoke about Red Sox legend Dwight Evans. Cherington thinks that Dewey should be in the hall of fame, and that if he played today he’d be valued much higher because of his ability to get on base, his fielding and his base running.
11:22 p.m.: There’s lots of talk about the Red Sox farm system at the Town Hall.
Cherington feels good about the farm system and says building a team on young players comes in cycles. Cherington said that even though the 2004 team is beloved, the 2007 and 2008 teams were the best because they offered a blend of veterans and young players.
Farrell says he feels good about the team that Cherington has assembled. They’re getting the team coming in fully healthy, which is something that rarely happened in 2012. Farrell also answered a question about interpreters and joked he wishes the team had them in 2007. The new manager supports the idea because when it gets down to more intricate language, it becomes more difficult to players that can’t speak English as well.
11: 12 p.m.: Ben Cherington shot down any rumors that the Red Sox front office is not committed to winning or that marketing as dictated team decisions.
He said he talked to Larry Lucchino when the current ownership bought the team in 2002 and they decided that having a winning team is the best way to build a business. Cherington said all decisions that have been made are to build a winning team.
John Farrell said that he believes that Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Daniel Bard are strong players to build around and that he has confidence in the starting rotation.
Farrell also discussed some lineup decisions. He said he could see Shane Victorino batting in the two hole against lefties with Dustin Pedroia sliding down to third. Against righties, Farrell says he can see Victorino batting fifth or sixth.
11 p.m.: Red Sox Town Hall is kicking off now on NESN. Ben Cherington and John Farrell will be answering fan questions with Tom Caron hosting.
8 a.m. ET: The Red Sox are in the midst of a very busy offseason, and the club’s roster is really starting to take shape. That doesn’t mean there still aren’t questions to be answered, though, and some lucky fans were fortunate enough to ask those questions as part of the annual Red Sox Town Hall.
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington and new skipper John Farrell were on hand to answer questions Thursday at La Salle Academy in Providence, R.I. Now, you’ll have a chance to hear those answers, as the 2013 Red Sox Town Hall Presented by Cape Air will air on NESN on Saturday at 11 p.m. — following NESN’s Boston Bruins coverage.
The annual event is one that continues to be a success, and during an active offseason like this, the open forum becomes must-see television.
So be sure to tune in to NESN at 11 p.m. Saturday to get your Red Sox fix, because, believe it or not, baseball is just around the corner.