Ben Cherington Deflects Praise, Says Executive of the Year Award a ‘Great Honor for the Organization’

Ben Cherington, Larry LucchinoAs the architect for a World Series-winning team, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington, theoretically, could puff out his chest, toot his horn and declare himself a gift to Boston. You wouldn’t find too many detractors.

But that’s not Cherington’s style.

Instead, Cherington, who was named Major League Baseball Executive of the Year by the Sporting News, deflected praise onto his colleagues after receiving the award Monday.

“I was telling people in the room, obviously, I consider this an award for the organization, not for me,’’ Cherington told reporters in Orlando, Fla. “Coming off the year we had in 2012, I see it usually as an award that goes to an organization over a period of time, not necessarily one year, so it’s a great honor for the organization.”

The Red Sox’ worst-to-first turnaround in 2013 can really be traced back to the organization’s August 2012 blockbuster with the Dodgers, in which Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto were sent to Los Angeles in a trade that gave Boston some financial flexibility. Cherington capitalized on that newfound flexibility last offseason by loading the Red Sox’ roster with a number of mid-level free agents, such as Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes and Koji Uehara. Cherington hit on nearly all of his transactions last winter, and the hiring of manager John Farrell also helped to change the clubhouse culture in Boston.

“It speaks to the hard work a lot of people have done,” Cherington reportedly said. “It’s about our ownership and the people who work for me, and John Farrell and his staff, and the players — the same themes we talked about after the World Series. I guess this is just another symbol of a good year and a lot of good work by a lot of different people.’’

The Red Sox won 97 games during the 2013 regular season, after which 31 executives voted on the award. Cherington received 15 votes, six more than Pirates general manager Neal Huntington, who finished second.

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