Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington shouldered blame Wednesday for not putting the team in a position to succeed this season.
President and CEO Larry Lucchino joined in accepting responsibility Thursday, while also discussing a number of other interesting topics with The Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy.
“There’s plenty of decision-making that we look back on and we wish we had done it differently,” Lucchino told Shaughnessy. “ … You try to find the calculus between maintaining the strengths of the team that won the championship but not standing pat. We made a couple of decisions and judgments about players that haven’t proven out.”
Lucchino referred to the first half of the 2014 season — in which the Red Sox are 41-51 — as “dreadful,” stating the organization has suffered through the pains and agonies of underachieving following such an incredible World Series run in 2013. Lucchino also told Shaughnessy he wishes the Red Sox had made some different decisions leading up to this season.
“I really don’t want to talk about individual players. I think the responsibility for all of this is shared,” Lucchino said when asked if the team regrets re-signing shortstop Stephen Drew. “… We all contributed to so many of the good things that have happened here, and we all share some accountability for the bad things that have happened. It’s hard to project what these guys are going to do. The (Stephen) Drew decision was a very rational judgment made in good faith at that time.”
One interesting tidbit Lucchino relayed to Shaughnessy focused on the Red Sox’s plans leading up to the July 31 trade deadline. Cherington on Wednesday discussed Boston’s “unusual” situation, and Lucchino echoed some of the same sentiments while also acknowledging he expects the Red Sox to be active in the coming weeks.
“Yeah, I think there will be moves in July, as there almost always are for us,” Lucchino said. “This year is a little different because of where we stand in the division, but I do think there will be moves and changes and improvements.
“This year, we’re considering both sides,” Lucchino added when asked whether the Red Sox will be buyers or sellers. “We haven’t thrown up the white flag. We’re still determined to do things to provide winning, entertaining baseball, but certainly a large factor in what we do will be how we get better in 2015.”
One of the Red Sox’s biggest decisions resides in-house, with left-hander Jon Lester set to hit free agency after this season. Both Lester and the Red Sox have expressed interest in continuing their relationship beyond 2014, and Lucchino isn’t ruling out anything when it comes to discussing a new contract.
“We’re eager to have Jon Lester back next year,” Lucchino said. “We’re eager to negotiate with his representatives. It’s a question of what time is appropriate for that.
“I wish we had been able to get it done earlier, but it’s a collaborative process,” Lucchino added. “What we did was throw a number out to get the negotiations started. We’re certainly well aware that there would have to be significant improvement in that, but we expected a more concentrated and ongoing period of negotiations, which hasn’t yet happened.”
Lucchino said the Red Sox would sign Lester right now, after the season before he hits free agency or after the left-hander hits the open market. In other words, it’s pretty clear the Red Sox still want Lester back.
For now, the Red Sox remain in flux. However, there’s a surplus of young talent coming up and making an impact, giving Boston something to get excited about despite a tumultuous season to this point.
“ … These guys are major league baseball players, and many of them will make significant contributions. You are catching them at the early part of their careers,” Lucchino told Shaughnessy. “These are guys we think are likely to be contributors for a long time.”