Larry Lucchino

Larry Lucchino on MFB: 'We all share' responsibility for Red Sox' woes

June 03, 2015 - 9:28 am
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Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino joined Middays with MFB on Wednesday to discuss the Red Sox and who bears responsibility for the team'€™s struggles. To hear to the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

On Tuesday, principal owner John Henry held a press conference to reinforce his confidence in manager John Farrell and general manager Ben Cherington and accept some responsibility for the team's struggles. Lucchino echoed those sentiments of support and accountability.

"When it comes to free agency, payroll-setting, we all have a hand in this, so we all share it. I've worked with a lot of general managers in my lifetime and Ben is right at the top of the list in terms of his work ethic, his insight, his judgment and his knowledge of the game," Lucchino said. "I don't think it is fair to mention the last couple of years without mentioning the extraordinary job he did in 2013."

Lucchino was equally effusive in his praise of Farrell's qualifications and abilities as a manager.

"He has a track record with this organization. We know him. When I say track record I don't just mean wins and losses, I mean years of experience, years of relationships, years of data that we can look at and say, 'We know this guy.' We have a sense of his intelligence, his judgment, his people skills," Lucchino said.

Lucchino acknowledged that some players have not performed as well as expected. He attributes this at least in part to the unpredictability of baseball, and that it is impossible to accurately anticipate performances.

"It's very hard to understand and to measure beforehand. The performances of some of these players have been utterly surprising. We're not smart enough year in and year out to guess who those guys are going to be," he said.

David Ortiz, for one, has sputtered at the dish this season, but Lucchino has faith that the 39-year-old designated hitter can turn it around like he so often has.

"Do I think he's washed up? Absolutely not," Lucchino said.

While Hanley Ramirez has struggled so far in converting to left field, Lucchino said, "It's a little early, we need a little more data regarding Hanley" in the outfield.

Lucchino conveyed that the organization must reach a certain standard in order to gain and earn the support of the fans.

"If you don'€™t spend your time worrying about the quality of your baseball product, all the other things you do are secondary to that. ... It's our responsibility to field a team that's worthy of the fans' support," Lucchino said. "We said that over and over and we'll say it again. We try not to take our fans for granted at any point."

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox.

On whether he regrets not signing Jon Lester in the offseason: "I don'€™t want to think about regrets of the past. I like Jon Lester, I have a lot of respect for Jon Lester. Do I wish he were here? Yeah, I wish he were here. But under the circumstances, he had to want to be here, the contract had to be right, and all of that didn't work out, so it's time for us to look forward, not back."

On the team policy against signing older pitchers to long-term deals: "Our position has been somewhat misunderstood. ... It is not a hard-and-fast rule that says we're not going to sign pitchers over 30 or we'€™re not going to give long-term contracts to certain people, but there is a presumption against the wisdom of that and I think that's borne out over time, you can look back at performances over time, long-term contracts over time and their benefits, and you can see that that conclusion springs from the evidence."

On the young prospects in the organization: "There are those of us who believe that this is a young man'€™s game and sometimes we have been, historically, too patient with young players. ... I don'€™t think that'€™s the case now. You look at this team, you see a 22-year-old at shortstop, you see one in center field, you see a 23-year-old at catcher. This game belongs to the young, it probably always has. I, for one, am eager to see our young players who are playing exceptionally well at Triple-A get a chance to perform up here."

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