Ben Cherington Takes Responsibility For Red Sox’s Offensive Issues

Ben CheringtonThe Boston Red Sox’s struggles this season are general manager Ben Cherington’s fault. That’s according to Cherington himself.

That’s obviously oversimplifying things, but the GM appeared on WEEI’s “Dennis & Callahan” on Thursday morning and took responsibility for a team that has underperformed after winning the World Series last year.

The club’s biggest issue is the lack of offensive production, and Cherington took full responsibility for those shortcomings.

“Our biggest issue up until very recently is the offensive production. As I look at that, I guess what I would say is I didn’t do a good enough job building a complete offense,” Cherington admitted. “A deeper offense is contingent to give us the kind of deep lineups that we’ve had. It certainly wasn’t our intent. We thought we would have that, we had reason to believe we would have that and the reality is that we have not for a big chunk of the first part of the season.”

The Red Sox will open their stretch drive Friday night against the Kansas City Royals. They will do so as the American League East’s last-place team with the 25th-ranked offense in terms of runs scored. Just a year ago, Boston led the majors in runs scored.

Maybe Cherington will look to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline to add offensive help. He wouldn’t tip his hand in regards to any sort of deadline specifics, but he did offer a look at the team’s philosophy in the coming weeks.

“We are going to┬ádo whatever we feel gives the Red Sox the best chance to be as good as possible as quickly as possible,” Cherington said. “We are not conceding 2014 with that statement. We feel the team we have now is capable than being better than a lot of teams ahead of us in the standings.”

Cherington’s plans likely will be shaped in the coming days, as he remarked that trade conversations already are happening across baseball. The final determination on what the Red Sox will be in 2014 almost certainly will be made then, and that could mean change to the current roster. If that is the case, Cherington claims the goal will be to have things turned around as quickly as possible.

“It will mean that we’ve decided that, OK, the best thing for the Red Sox is perhaps focus on trying to build something as quickly as we can toward 2015, but we’re just not at that point right now,” he said.

Cherington also gave the latest update on pitcher Jon Lester’s contract, which expires after this season.

“I think what all of those people (involved in contract talks) would say is there a strong relationship here that goes back 12 years,” Cherington said. “And that strong relationship will allow for continued dialogue and conversation — detailed conversation — will continue at the right time. Jon feels like right now is the time to focus on the field and focus on the team he’s trying to help win games.”

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