NEW YORK — The Boston Red Sox haven’t kicked the bucket just yet.
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington acknowledged before Saturday’s game at Yankee Stadium that his club faces an uphill battle this season. His admission shouldn’t be interpreted as the Red Sox preparing to keel over, though, as Cherington’s attention remains on the present.
“Focused on 2014,” Cherington said Saturday. “We’re trying to look realistically and be honest with where we are — I’m not sugarcoating where we are. It’s not where we want to be. We’ve created a deficit for ourselves. But we still think the deficit is one we can overcome.
“We still believe in the talent, we believe we can be a good team this year. So that’s what we’re interested in doing, is trying to be as good a team as we can. If at some point, the picture changes, then it changes. Then we’ll have to adjust at that point. But we’re not at that point yet.”
Cherington’s vote of confidence temporarily cools speculation about whether the Red Sox are ready to become sellers with the July 31 trade deadline roughly a month away. It’s possible Boston might go down that road if things don’t change over the next few weeks, but for now, the Sox are continuing to assess the situation while looking for ways to improve their current roster.
“It’s a combination of where you are, how many games you have left to play, what talent we have, what talent we think is potentially attainable. Throw it all in a pot, mix it up and try to make the best decision,” Cherington said. “If at some point, one of those factors changes or multiple factors change and the whole thing looks different, we’ll react to that. Right now, we’re focused on just trying to get better.”
Even if the Red Sox’s slide continues and their deficit becomes insurmountable, the situation will remain somewhat convoluted. While it’s reasonable to expect the Red Sox — under those circumstances — to make moves geared toward improving the team for 2015 and beyond, Cherington insists it’s difficult to paint everything in black and white.
“I understand we can put potential moves into one bucket or the other. We can put moves into the seller bucket or the buyer bucket, and I get it,” Cherington said. “But I’m not sure every move falls neatly into either of those buckets. We’re going to try to make the organization better and the team better. We think we can do it this year. We’ll see if we can. If that picture changes again, we’ll have to adjust. I think everyone here knows roughly what we need to get better, and that’s tomorrow and maybe three weeks from now and maybe a year from now. We’re going to look to get better in those areas.”
Cherington didn’t completely brush aside the idea of selling off pieces before the July 31 trade deadline, but he also isn’t writing this year’s eulogy. The next few weeks will go a long way toward determining the immediate fate of the defending World Series champions.
Photo via Twitter/@SoxNH