Sam Kennedy

Red Sox president Sam Kennedy on OM&F: 'The focus is on improving the pitching' before trade deadline

July 06, 2016 - 10:26 am
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Red Sox president Sam Kennedy joined the Ordway, Merloni & Fauria show on Wednesday to discuss the team's pitching struggles and the job security of John Farrell. To hear the full interview, visit the OM&F audio on demand page. The Red Sox are coming off of a 7-2 loss Tuesday night against the Rangers in which David Price and Craig Kimbrel failed to dominate like they have in the past. The Red Sox rank 10th in team ERA (4.51), suggesting that a move for pitching help may be necessary. "I just walked out of a meeting with [Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski] and [general manager] Mike Hazen and I can tell you the focus is on improving the pitching," Kennedy said. "From our fourth and fifth spots in the rotation, our ERA is over 7.20, that's hard to fathom. All that being said, we're still in the thick of this thing, but it is frustrating to be sure, especially when you lose a game like last night when you're on a little bit of a roll then you take a step backwards, so it's frustrating." In Tuesday's loss, Price gave up a home run on the first pitch of the game, and he allowed another run later in the inning. The outing was the latest example of Boston's first-inning issues, as the team often falls behind and has to play catch-up. Kennedy admits to being frustrated by the first-inning funk but says he is not disappointed in any one player. "It has been frustrating with these first-inning explosions from the other team," Kennedy said. "I don't have an answer for you, I don't have an explanation other than to say you got to love David Price's accountability. You got to love the fact that he's leading all of baseball in innings pitched. ... He's got to be better, we all have to do better, and we believe that's exactly what's going to happen as we head to the second half." Added Kennedy: "I don't think we're disappointed in any one individual player, we're a few games back, 45-38, not where we want to be. If the season ended today, we'd be in a one game wild card playoff. That's really not where we want to be, we want to win this division. To say we're disappointed is a bit of an overstatement, I think we aren't where we want to be, we want to win this division, let's be clear. Everybody feels that in the clubhouse and everybody feels that in the office, that's the goal. So right now, we have our work cut out for us in front of us, and we have the right guys to get it done." Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox. On the job security of manager John Farrell: "You don't know what the future is ever going to bring when you're talking about coaching and positions of the manager in a major league baseball team. Here's what I'll tell you: John Farrell is our manager, he's done a great job this year, he's a leader and we expect a lot out of him, we expect a lot out of our players, we expect a lot out of Dave and Mike Hazen, [Red Sox principal owner John Henry] and [chairman Tom Werner] expect a lot out of me. This is a team game, and so we're going to be accountable as a whole group, as an organization, and John Farrell is our manager and I have a lot of faith in him and confidence in him. Hopefully we start to get on a little bit of a roll here in the second half." On the fan interference policy at Fenway Park: "The policy is if you interfere with the ball, you're going to be ejected, so that's the policy. It doesn't have anything to do with whether we're the beneficiary of an interference or the victim of an interference, that's the policy. ... Unfortunately, you don't like to see anyone get kicked out of the game for this, but we have to discourage that behavior because it can obviously have an impact on a game one way or the other and that's the policy throughout Major League Baseball. ... I'm not going to sit here and say that fans have always been kicked out, maybe the security hasn't been able to track them down ... But that is the policy, to be clear. On Dombrowski's options as the trade deadline nears: "A lot of different people in the Red Sox are going to be listening and taking recommendations and suggestions from Dave Dombrowski. He was brought in here to improve this ball club, and that's exactly what he set out to do, he started doing it with a lot of help from a great front office. ... It will be a very, very active trade deadline in baseball. You see the addition of the second wild card, there are so many other teams that are in it. Dave I'm sure has a list of 20 or 30 names that he's very interested in. But it takes two to tango, it takes two to make a deal. I think the challenge for any baseball operations executive, I've seen this since 1993, is how to balance the short-term needs with your current club, your current roster, with the long term health of the franchise. Those two lines are sometimes completely misaligned, so that becomes a real challenge for Dave and the baseball obstacles." On monitoring David Ortiz and keeping him from getting worn down as the season progresses: "While this is David's last season, and he's going to be pulled in a million directions, the goal here is to win a World Series championship. And we have to make sure that David has the infrastructure of what he needs to get done what we want him to get done on the field, that is the priority. We got off to a very good start, he has just been absolutely remarkable. ... He's been in a good position to have success. That said, as the season wears on, it gets harder and hard to get out on the field, so Dan Dyrek is probably one of the most important people in our organization in relation to keeping players feeling good and on the field. He leads our physical therapy and rehab efforts, and he's going to be with David just about at all times to make sure that he has what he needs to head into the second half."