Red Sox Town Hall Live Blog: Ben Cherington Expects Team to Evolve Throughout the Season

by NESN Staff

February 2, 2012

Red Sox Town Hall Live Blog: Ben Cherington Expects Team to Evolve Throughout the Season

11 p.m.: The Town Hall is over. Bobby and Ben head down to interact with fans and sign autographs.

10:57 p.m.: Bobby Valentine tells fans to give the team a chance and not “paint them with the same brush” that they did with last year’s team.

He expresses confidence in the club and their ability to bounce back.

10:53 p.m.: Just like he has all offseason, Ben Cherington references the St. Louis Cardinals as the blueprint. The team looked completely different in the World Series than it initially did in spring training.

Cherington keeps the door open for more moves throughout the season and evolution all year long.

10:51 p.m.: Bobby Valentine reiterates he will wear No. 25 this season to honor Tony Conigliaro.

10:49 p.m.: There’s a luxury tax question, and a fan wonders if there are any restrictions to spend.

Ben Cherington says it’s a factor, but not the only factor. 

10:41 p.m.: A fan asks Cherington a question about the direction of the farm system and why it’s dried up.

Cherington acknowledges the dried-up talent in the farm system, mentioning “we are in a little bit of a gap before the next wave comes through.” He points to a strong draft in 2011.

In the process, Cherington said pitcher Alex Wilson likely will start in Triple-A and pitcher Anthony Ranaudo likely will start in Double-A.

10:36 p.m.: Ah, you didn’t think we’d get through this without a Jason Varitek question, did you?

Valentine again handles it well, offering all the credit to the catcher for his past contributions. That said, he maintains that Varitek isn’t on the roster and can’t focus much on players that aren’t on the roster.

10:34 p.m.: Ben and Bobby are asked about their thoughts on the possible expansion of the wild card.

Cherington says it’s not too much of a factor because they want to put the best product on the field regardless.

10:29 p.m.: By far, the question of the night just came from a young child who asked Valentine if he really invented the sandwich wrap?

“Until someone says they did, I’m claiming it,” Valentine said. He goes onto to talk about making a wrap at his restaurant.

10:27 p.m.: A fan asks Bobby Valentine how he plans to improve from his past experiences. Valentine says he will “adjust and adapt” and will learn from his previous mistakes and success. He mentioned that he would do things differently than he did in the past.

10:25 p.m.: Through social media, a fan says the Red Sox “lost him halfway through the season” in 2011, and the offseason moves haven’t brought him back.

Cherington says it’s up to the players to prove themselves on the field and earn that trust back. But insists the offseason moves will put them in good position.

10:20 p.m.: The first Carl Crawford question. Someone asked Bobby Valentine about where he plans to slot Crawford in the lineup.

Valentine flips the script on the fan and asks her what she would suggest. She responds with “eighth.”

Valentine wouldn’t divulge any information, but said the team wants to score in every inning and would build around that philosophy.

10:15 p.m.: Ben Cherington endears himself to the fans in attendance. A little kid says he’s never been to Opening Day, and Cherington points him to Sam Kennedy to hook him up.

The young fan also asked a question about Dice-K and if the signing was a waste. Cherington defends Dice-K, saying the pitcher likely struggled because he pitched too long with the elbow injury that required surgery.

Cherington adds that Dice-K is “working his tail off.” 

10:09 p.m.: Someone asked Bobby and Ben about the perception that the Red Sox could be the sixth-best team in the American League.

Bobby counts his fingers and chuckles after getting to six. Ben brings up the argument that last year, the Red Sox were expected to dominate and couldn’t even make the playoffs.

That’s why they play the game.

10:05 p.m.: A fan aggressively questions Ben Cherington’s decision to trade Marco Scutaro, who had one more year left on his contract.

Ben counters, saying “it was a combination of coming close to approximating Scutaro’s production” while clearing up cash. Essentially, he said Mike Aviles and Nick Punto together can match Scutaro. 

Fan walks away satisfied.

10:02 p.m.: And the questions are under way. First question is — to no surprise — on changing the clubhouse culture from last year.

Bobby Valentine has taken the chicken and beer incident in stride, joking that he wouldn’t “card players,” but said he will instill discipline.

9:57 p.m.: Wondering where Carl Crawford will be in the lineup this year? That questions and more will be answered in the Red Sox Town Hall airing in three minutes.

9:21 p.m.: We’re roughly 40 minutes away from the airing of the Red Sox Town Hall meeting. On Wednesday, Ben Cherington was asked about how the pitching staff stacks up to other American League teams.

To see his response, I’d suggest keeping up with the blog or flipping on to NESN at 10 p.m.

8 a.m. ET: We were live at Worcester Technical High School for the taping of the Red Sox Town Hall meeting late Wednesday night. New Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington and new manager Bobby Valentine answered several questions from the fans in attendance as well as fans that submitted questions through social media.

Among the questions the pair addressed were the voids at shortstop and in the outfield, the reasoning behind trading Marco Scutaro, the competition to fill the back end of the rotation, Carl Crawford’s status and the clubhouse problems that plagued the team in 2011. They also touched on the positive changes, including the excitement surrounding the new spring training facility — JetBlue Park — and the new additions to the team.

To watch their responses on all the topics, tune in to NESN’s telecast of the Red Sox Town Hall at 10 p.m. on Thursday night. We?ll be blogging throughout the telecast as well.

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