SBD/November 21, 2011/Franchises

Questions Arise Over How Much Power Red Sox GM Ben Cherington Wields

Cherington continues to stress search for a new manager is a collaborative process

There is an "apparent disconnect" between Red Sox GM Ben Cherington and the team's ownership over the search for a new manager, with ownership "preferring a more experienced candidate," according to Scott Lauber of the BOSTON HERALD. Cherington is scheduled to meet with Bobby Valentine today. He reportedly "favored" Dale Sveum for manager, but after the Cubs hired Sveum and the Red Sox casted a "wider net to find more experienced candidates, questions arose about Cherington’s autonomy." Lauber: "After weeks of heading up the managerial search, had he been undermined by ownership and team president Larry Lucchino? Had the rookie GM already been reduced to a puppet?" A source said, "I don’t think he would’ve taken the job if that would be an issue." Cherington "continues to stress that the process is 'collaborative.'" Lucchino "has disputed any notion that the new GM has been undercut, instead lauding him as 'terrific, solid and thoughtful.'" And Owner John Henry last week said, "Ben’s in charge." Still, Cherington left last week's GM meetings "without a manager and with some doubt, at least among a fan base seeking action, about how much power he wields with ownership" (BOSTON HERALD, 11/20). In Boston, Dan Shaughnessy wrote, "Can the Red Sox do anything else to boost their image as a doofus organization?" They are a "daily pinch line" after a "series of head-scratching missteps and mind-bending news conferences." Shaughnessy: "Why make your serious new GM look powerless right out of the gate?" Henry "has gone underground," as EPL club Liverpool "and his new family have taken his attention away from the Red Sox." Lucchino is "presenting as the de facto GM of the Red Sox, which is not necessarily a bad thing." He is the "guy flexing his baseball muscles" now that Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein is "no longer battling for power inside the walls of Fenway" (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/20). On Long Island, Ken Davidoff wrote, "I goofed. I made the assumption that Boston ownership would let [Cherington] pick his skipper." It looks "very weird for Boston to be changing course so dramatically at this juncture" (NEWSDAY, 11/19).

LEADING THE CHARGE: In Boston, Michael Silverman writes, "The Big Three, led by Lucchino, got the Red Sox to where they are. And the Big Three, led by Lucchino, will shepherd the search-and-rescue mission required for them to get out of this mess." Lucchino said, "The team suffered a historic collapse -- it had, and has, implications -- but there’s nothing that’s wrong with the Red Sox that can’t be cured by what’s right with the Red Sox." He added, "If you’re looking at what is the governance of the club, it’s not invested in any single person. In John, [Chair Tom Werner] and me, we have people now with 40, 45 years history of running baseball teams. No one of us individually is as smart as us collectively, and we involve the GM and the senior staff in the organization. We’re optimistic about our ability to solve the problem." Silverman notes it is "Lucchino whom Henry and Werner trust the most as a problem-solver" (BOSTON HERALD, 11/21).

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