John Henry

Here is what John Henry had to say

Rob Bradford
June 02, 2015 - 4:11 pm
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(The following is a transcript of Red Sox principal owner John Henry's gathering with the print media prior to the Red Sox' game against the Twins Tuesday night.) THOUGHTS ON THE TEAM When we look at this team, and I tell you, we've analyzed this team, this is a strong team. They've just played not up to their capabilities. I mentioned doubles a little while ago -- when you look at our doubles production and you project each player, how many doubles should each player have, it's sort of across the board, so it's part of our overall approach. We're a patient team. Maybe we shouldn't be as a patient as we've been. CONSTRUCTION OF THE TEAM At this point, you can question that, and you should, we should question that. But as we look at it, we're 50 games in, that's a lot of games, but in baseball if you look over history at the 50-game mark, it's not necessarily representative of where you end up. We feel confident about the rest -- we've got over 100 games to play, but they're going to have to prove it on the field that we made the right decisions, and they'll prove us right or they'll prove us wrong. POOR OFFENSE They have been anything but, there's no doubt about it, but when you look at the track records of these people, including the young guys who have hit at every level, you have to feel good about this team. But I can understand why there's dismay at this point over the offensive production. It hasn't been what it should be, across the board. STATE OF PITCHING We gave up eight runs the other night, and I really didn't think it was the fault of the pitching. We've made some pitching adjustments. It's not perfect, but if you have a strong offense, we have the pitching to carry us through. TEAM DYNAMIC I feel good about it. I also think we have the right mix of veterans and youngsters and speed, defense. We have the right mix. STICKING WITH RAMIREZ IN LEFT FIELD No, I think that, again, it's a matter of tentativeness, and it's not just been Hanley. We gave up eight runs, and some of that was the tentativeness that you saw in the field. We looked tentative to me in the last inning. No one wants to make a mistake. These guys want to win. We're at the point now where they're a little bit snake-bitten, but they're a lot tentative, and there are adjustments that they've been in the process of beginning to make. HITTING PROBLEMS The strike zone is larger than it used to be, so you can't be as patient as you used to be. The game of baseball has changed a lot. The standings reflect that. You have Houston playing extremely well. You have the Yankees and the Red Sox, the whole of the American League East, typically the best, for a long time perhaps the best division in baseball, is now, at least of today, it may be the weakest, so this is a game of adjustments, and that's one adjustment that I believe we probably have to make. TURNING IT AROUND I'm here to be accountable and tell you how I see it. I know you guys are not probably going to see it the way I see it. I'm just telling you how I see it. Why do I believe that? Because I've worked with a lot of people over the years and these are two people that I really like working with from the perspective of they're committed, I believe they're very good at what they do. John has provided the kind of leadership that we need through a really tough period. I just don'€™t think you can blame the manager for this. I watch these games. They'€™ve been painful games to watch. To me, it's not the manager's fault the way that we've been playing. I just don'€™t see that. STATUS OF BEN CHERINGTON The general manager is going to be the general manager of this club for a very long time. I have nothing but respect for him and the job that he does. I think we've been on the same wavelength, so you have to blame ownership as much as you can blame the general manager. We have a certain philosophy. We've talked a lot about adjusting that philosophy. I'm not sure it's just the players that need to make adjustments. In fact, I'm sure about that. There are adjustments we need to make as an organization. Ben will make those adjustments, and he'll lead that process. I think he and his people are the right people to do that. OFFENSIVE ADJUSTMENTS I don't think it makes sense for David to talk about what kind of adjustments, except in a general way. We're talking about them. For one thing, offense is not what it used to be in baseball. The way you win games in 2003 is different from the way you win games in 2015. And we have to make those adjustments as an organization. Well, especially with veteran hitters, anytime they're going badly, they're looking to make adjustments. They don'€™t, at least my perception is that they don'€™t really look to just keep doing the same thing. And why is that? Because pitchers are always trying to find, if there's a weakness, the scouts and pitchers in this league will find and exploit it. And that'€™s what they'll concentrate on. I think there's been a game plan with regard to our offense, and I think it's been better than our response to it thus far. It's difficult I think for a rookie to make an adjustment, maybe even more difficult. You can see we've gone after hitters in the last year or two that aren't necessary the most patient. You can't really call Pablo a guy who's waiting for a particular pitch in general. We think, in this day and age, that'€™s the kind of hitter, we want to mix. You still have to get on base, you still have to look for your pitch. I shouldn'€™t get into all the technical details on this, but there are adjustments I think we need to make. IMPORTANCE OF OFFENSE I wouldn'€™t say it carries the same weight (as in 2003). We still need offense and pitching, I think they have the same weight. There'€™s not as much offense in the game. There'€™s a philosophical question of how difficult it is to predict future performance of pitchers vs. hitters and some people believe it'€™s easier to predict how hitters are going to do. But in this case, when we were trying to address our weaknesses that'€™s really what we were doing. That'€™s really what we were doing in brining in two middle of the order players. We were trying to address what we saw as a real weakness in our offense last year. So your question is did we spend too much on offense and not enough on pitching? And with hindsight you could perhaps say that but we don'€™t have enough offense as far as I'€™m concerned. I don'€™t remember seeing our offense look this badly maybe ever since we'€™ve been involved. WORRIED ABOUT ORTIZ? I think everybody in New England was concerned about in 2009. That was the main discussion in May of 2009'€¦ It'€™s six years later. To me, at least in the last few games when he came back after a couple games off, he was really driving the ball to the opposite field. To me that'€™s a big positive. No. Not when you'€™re 4.5 back and you'€™ve lost nine of your last 12. At that point you don'€™t feel that way, but as far as the team we'€™re putting on the field, it'€™s the right team as far as I'€™m concerned. We have the right people in place to support that team so that'€™s what I have to say at this point. WORDS OF HOW YOU FEEL I don'€™t know if you could print them. How painful has it been to watch these games? I watch these games so I know how painful these are. We talk about television, it'€™s been terrible television. But it'€™s even worse to be responsible for this and I feel responsible and I am responsible. REGRETS ABOUT CONSTRUCTION OF STARTING STAFF? I felt good at the time. We all felt good in the organization about what we accomplished in a short period of time. I feel pretty good where we are right now with the pitching. I feel good about it. But I understand there'€™s hardly anyone in New England that feels good about it. From the inside looking out I feel probably better than our fans do. No doubt about it. MORE ON ORTIZ You know, the guy, he's the best hitter I've seen for the Red Sox for a long time. He's not in his prime. He's not going to hit 50 home runs, but is he going to hit 30? It doesn't look like it this year. Is he getting older? Yes. But I don't think any of us know. But I talked with him yesterday. He's upbeat about his swing. And we can talk about David, but we've got nine guys batting every day and we've had some terrible at-bats. Our approach has been suspect. But I think we have the right hitting coach and we have the right hitters, and I think they'll get it together. We'll see. MESSAGE FROM COACHING STAFF You know, this is a tremendous coaching staff. I think every player here feels lucky to have this set of coaches. So, there's no issue with them. No issue with the players, no issue with coaches. The issue has been with the production on the field, and that's either going to change or this is going to be a terrible year. CHANGING OFFENSIVE APPROACH Yeah, there's been a lot of discussion about that, as you can imagine, the last month or so. But when you look at the work that goes into this and I have looked at it, I feel good about that. Again, did this whole team become a collection of poor hitters? I don't think so. I think that the production has been poor, and I think there are adjustments that have been needed to be made. I hate to keep talking about adjustments, but that is baseball. If you know baseball, you know it's a matter between a pitcher and a hitter. That hitter is adjusting all the time, the pitcher in adjusting all the time to the ways that the hitter is adjusting to how he's being pitched, the pitcher is adjusting to how people are attacking him, and we haven't done the best job with that. I think that will. HARDER TO SUSTAIN SUCCESS GOING FORWARD? Well, I mean, by definition right, if we have more parity, it's going to be harder to sustain success, right? So, you have to be concerned about that. We have to be concerned about our performance. That's why I talked about making adjustments. You can stay true to your philosophy, or you can make adjustments. I think there are adjustments off the field that we need to make, that we're talking about making. COMMENT ON PITCHING COACH CHANGE I don't think it's good for me to go into that. I think that the change ended up being what needed to occur. It's been fruitful. That's all. ROLE OF LARRY LUCCHINO It hasn't changed. He's been a little - because of the death of his partner in this venture with the PawSox, he's been pressed into duty the last couple of weeks. But the 2024 thing hasn't really been much of a time commitment. For the last few days, for the last 10 days, he's really been involved with the Pawtucket thing. His role hasn't changed.