SBD/August 23, 2012/Franchises

Red Sox' Cherington Faces Daunting Task Of Rebuilding Underperforming Team

Red Sox GM Ben Cherington “once believed merely to be a fixer-upper has taken on the look of a broken-down jalopy,” according to Scott Lauber of the BOSTON HERALD. Now, with a “disturbing series of off-field dramas keeping the out-of-contention Red Sox from receding into irrelevance during the season’s final six weeks, Cherington is facing the reality that bigger, bolder roster changes are required this time around.” Although public sentiment “undoubtedly would favor the Red Sox going nuclear, blowing up a $180 million roster isn’t a likely scenario.” They are “burdened by too many unwieldy contracts for Cherington to engineer a complete overhaul.” Problem is, the Red Sox “already have $48.125 million committed next season” to Ps Josh Beckett ($15.75 million), John Lackey ($15.25 million), Jon Lester ($11.625 million) and Clay Buchholz ($5.5 million). The free agent market “won’t be flush with aces, and even if it were, the Sox have neither the track record nor the financial flexibility to justify making a big splash.” Lauber: “One thing is clear: The Red Sox haven’t run smoothly for long enough that Cherington won’t be fooled again into thinking an oil change and a tune-up are all that’s needed” (BOSTON HERALD, 8/21).

FAREWELL TO PESKY: In Boston, Fee & Reposa note Red Sox President & CEO Larry Lucchino, Fenway Sports Group Co-Chair and Red Sox Owner John Henry and his wife Linda, Exec VP & COO Sam Kennedy, Cherington and “many more team execs and staff were on hand” at late MLBer Johnny Pesky's funeral yesterday. Current Red Sox DH David Ortiz, C Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ps Buchholz and Vicente Padilla also attended (BOSTON HERALD, 8/23). In Boston, Joe Fitzgerald writes under the header, “Shame On Red Sox Players,” and criticizes players for not attending the funeral of the late Johnny Pesky. Fitzgerald: “The Red Sox, as a team, could have hit one out of the park just by showing up at Johnny Pesky’s funeral. That’s all they had to do, even if they didn’t feel a personal urge to show up, which might have been the case for many of them. … This is about the players; individually, they might have had splendid reasons to be among the missing at St. John the Evangelist Church in Swampscott, but collectively, they’re not looking so good this morning. How ironic they’d blow this one” (BOSTON HERALD, 8/23).
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