Red Sox' Cherington Lauded For Offseason Moves With Shorter, More Affordable Deals
Red Sox Exec VP & GM Ben Cherington "batted close to 1.000 this past winter with a series of so-called 'mid-range' player purchases in what was viewed as one of big-market Boston's least glamorous buying sprees," according to Jon Heyman of CBSSPORTS.com. It was "such a success that rival execs are openly discussing copying the so-called 'blueprint.'" A Mets exec "recently declared that 'there's a lot of merit' to that strategy." Cherington said he admitted "always having a preference to keep the deals shorter." But Heyman wrote, "Even that seems to undersell the plan this winter, when they made several offers with seemingly high annual salaries and shorter terms, all to players with past successes and strong reputations for being positive clubhouse influences but imperfections on their resumes." The Red Sox' total outlay for seven free agents was $100.2M guaranteed, and with the $8M in earned incentives for 1B Mike Napoli included, it is "still only" $108.2M. That figure is about $17M less than what the Angels paid LF Josh Hamilton, who was "never a serious consideration for Boston." Cherington explains the Red Sox' thinking "in simple terms that make sense." Cherington: "We wanted good players. You can't win without good players. But we also wanted guys who wanted to be in Boston and all the challenges that come along with it" (CBSSPORTS.com, 9/17).
TAKING THE TRIBUTE TOO FAR? ESPN's Keith Olbermann Monday discusses the recent tribute by the Red Sox to Yankees P Mariano Rivera, who is retiring at the end of the season. Olbermann said, "These farewell tours are inherently tedious ... Still, it's the thought that counts and the primary thought has got to be, 'The gift should probably be about him and not about you!' A painting of him tipping his hat as Fenway's spectators mock-cheered him on the home opener in 2005 because he blew two saves as the Yankees became the first team ever to cough up a 3-0 playoff lead. So a painting of the moment your fans were classless enough to try to rub it in as if your team had not just escaped the 86 years of acute, endless, blistering, soul-stomping, last-minute, blown-save failure" ("Olbermann," ESPN2, 9/16). But the Boston Globe's Bob Ryan said, "It was the ultimate tribute because it was testimony to the fact that beating him is an honor that no one can surpass." Ryan: "The Red Sox knew he would take it in the right vein." Columnist Kevin Blackistone said, "That was absolutely hilarious. I can’t believe anybody with the Yankees would not have a sense of humor and get a little chuckle out of that” (“Around the Horn,” ESPN, 9/17). ESPN's Michael Wilbon said, "It seemed like it was well intentioned to me. It's also self absorbed, as all things Red Sox ... seem to be." ESPN's Tony Kornheiser: "What they did ... was charming, and then they gave him a bunch of gifts. My response to Yankees people is shut up about this. This is not a terrible thing that they did" ("PTI," ESPN, 9/17).