Ben Cherington takes blame for hitting reset button: 'Ultimately my responsibility'

Mike Petraglia
July 31, 2014 - 4:44 pm

Ever since his team began hitting the skids in Toronto, Ben Cherington has been losing a lot of sleep. On Thursday, he lost five players from a roster that won the World Series just nine months earlier. The Red Sox hit the deadline at 48-60, 13 games behind Baltimore and in last place in the AL East. Cherington admitted Thursday that he needed to move quickly. He did by trading Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jonny Gomes, Andrew Miller and Stephen Drew, all of whom received 2013 World Series rings on opening day a little less than four months ago. "I think it speaks to where we are as a team," Cherington said. "It starts there, and there'€™s nothing celebratory about this. These moves are made because collectively as an organization we haven'€™t performed well enough -- this year, anyway. So that precipitates the moves, and then, yeah, there is demand because we were in a unique position, because, despite the record of the team, we had a number of guys particularly pitching, performing really well and very recently playoff-tested. "So it was a unique combination and we were able to add, I think that helped us, turn those guys into a lot of proven major league talent as opposed to just prospect deals. Prospect deals are typically easier to pull off Most of the time when you'€™re getting calls from contenders it'€™s hard to get proven major leaguers from contenders because typically it doesn't make sense to give up proven major leaguers for a contender. I think the quality of our guys and the fact that they'€™re recently playoff tested helped us do that. There are other things we could have done but we felt like we did enough, nothing else really made sense to us." How disappointed was Cherington to be in the position he was in Thursday? "We'€™re in this position because of the performance of the team, and the performance of the team is ultimately my responsibility," he said. "If we had done a better job as an organization this year and performed better then it'€™s not just likely but obvious that most of this stuff would not have happened today. So you have to start there, I have to start there with the acknowledgement that if we weren't in the position that we'€™re in, which I take responsibility for, then these trades don'€™t happen. And we don'€™t want to be in that position. We take responsibility, the performance on the field hasn't been good and certainly not good enough." As for the sleepless nights that led up to Thursday, Cherington said that's just part of the job of trying to regroup and reload like the team did in 2012. And everyone knows how that turned out. "Long days and long night," Cherington said. "As everyone knows, trades '€“ for every trade you do make there'€™s 20 or 30 other iterations that don'€™t come together. Even for the ones you do make, especially bigger ones, those require a lot of phone calls and a lot of work from a lot of different people. We haven'€™t slept much the last three or four days, you can probably tell. But we knew coming into this week that we had a job to do. "We had to find a way to take advantage of the unfortunate position we'€™re in and try to kick start building the next team. So that'€™s what we tried to do. It was a great team effort from a lot of people --including ownership and certainly baseball operations and John Farrell was involved. We were working around the clock literally. Didn't [go to sleep] last night and maybe not much the previous couple of nights. Lot of coffee and other stuff. We had to see what we could do and try to take advantage of the unfortunate position that we'€™re in. Hopefully we'€™re able to do some things to give us a head start on that.'€ Ultimately, time will tell if Cherington can repeat his rebuild of 2012 when he brought in seven free agents in the offseason, six of whom contributed mightily to the 2013 World Series title. "I think we'€™re in better position than we were a week ago, but certainly not done," Cherington said. "Obviously now that the deadline has passed there'€™s likely a lot less activity as far as roster moves the rest of the way other than I'€™m sure at some point some young players will come up. Hopefully we've done things to get a head start on the offseason, address some things, but I think, and I know John [Farrell] feels the same way, we've got 54 games left. "These are now the most important 54 games of our season because we've got a lot to find out. We have new players that we want to make sure are comfortable and get acclimated to Boston and comfortable at the ballpark and everything that comes along with Boston. We've got young players who are still developing and need to continue to improve and develop, we need to focus on that. And we need to start building a team again so a lot of the guys that are now on this roster will more than likely be on the roster next April so we've got to start building a team that can win. So I think the next 54 games are really important toward that. But of course, there'€™ll be more work to do this offseason, too."