Larry Lucchino

Larry Lucchino on D&C: 'It's a little early to panic, but not too soon to make some individual player assessments'

June 11, 2015 - 6:19 am

Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino joined the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to talk about how the Sox are doing of late, as well as to discuss David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. Despite Boston's recent troubles, Lucchino said it remains too early in the year to condemn the team, though it is not too early to begin individual player assessments. "[You have] 63 percent of the season left to play, and this season has been a bit of a roller coaster," Lucchino said. "I would say to you last Sunday [against the A's], we were all exhilarated. This team showed that it could play some good, smart, aggressive, heart-felt baseball and then what's happened since then? "We have a Monday to enjoy the offensive momentum and that dramatic victory, and then we lost a game on Tuesday on a wild pitch, and we lost the game yesterday to a very tough left-hander who's beaten us with great regularity over the past several years, so I think it's a little early still to panic but it is not too soon to make some individual player assessments." From an upper management's perspective, Lucchino maintained there is some dissatisfaction with the way the season has gone, but that doesn't mean he has any less trust in manager John Farrell and general manager Ben Cherington. "I would say that we are frustrated," Lucchino said. "I think John [Henry] captured it pretty well when he spoke last week regarding the faith we still have in the people whose role it is to put together this team. There is no questioning of their long term connection to this team, but there is a sense of frustration and disappointment." "We're fans, too," he added. "We get sick to the stomach when we watch certain games and certain outcomes and we get exhilarated as we were last Sunday. But the hardest thing is to demonstrate some patience with players and with a team that's having its difficulties this year." Lucchino also addressed the criticism Hanley Ramirez continues to face in left field. "It's early," he said. "We're a couple of months into what is a four-year contract  and I think we need to chill out just a little bit. I think Hanley's style lends itself to some criticism, but that's not who he is. I think he is an intense and competitive and outstanding baseball player, and I think we should not misread his style." Lucchino extended his "too soon to tell" mantra into the Red Sox' potential approach at the trade deadline as well, saying, "this team was built to win in the next couple of years, this year and in the future and to be in playoff contention each year, so it's too soon to make that determination." On the David Ortiz front, Lucchino said that while he knows hitters start to go as they display "lesser performance over time," the Sox bet on Ortiz in 2009 when he was struggling as well and it paid dividends for them down the line. "[We] were right and successful and have a world championship to show for it," he said. "It's very hard to know, but I do know that it takes plenty of evidence to determine that a player of certain caliber is done," he continued. "One of the things they have earned is our patience with them. That's not to say they may not be used differently than they had been used in the past, that's the manager's job, but I do think they have earned our faith and our patience." Because of Ortiz's track record and history with the Red Sox, Lucchino said it would be "appropriate" to offer him as much patience and respect as the team can afford, but that his spot in the lineup is ultimately determined by the manager. Wherever John Farrell chooses to put the DH in the lineup, or whether he does so at all, Lucchino said he predicts Ortiz will react in a way that benefits the team. "I fully expect that he will behave as he has for 13 years with this team, and that is with respect for the team, respect for the game and he will not create any kind of disruption," he said. "I think that he is a confident guy, and I have a lot of love and affection and respect for David Ortiz."