Farrell, Cherington take responsibility for rough season
Manager, GM acknowledge that they could've done things differently
BOSTON -- Last year at this time, Red Sox manager John Farrell and general manager Ben Cherington were receiving well-deserved accolades for a magical season that would end in championship glory.
This year, both men are more than willing to take their share of accountability for a title defense that went bad early. And both are clearly eager for the challenge for putting together a far more representative Red Sox team in 2015.
In Farrell's case, he wishes he would have gotten a little more innovative with the offense before it was too late. All year long, his team struggled to score runs and was frequently unsuccessful with runners in scoring position.
Perhaps, the manager suspects now, some small ball could have turned the tide somewhat.
"You look at our overall production, offense was one area that was a shortcoming," Farrell said. "What could we have done differently? When someone asked, 'Do you feel like you're partly responsible for the season?' my first response is 'Yes.' And that's in a way of, 'Could we have done something differently with a different offensive identity given the strength of our roster and who populated it?' In the end, I think the overall thing was where we came up short offensively as a team."
One big reason for the lack of offense is perhaps an over-reliance on young players, most of whom didn't produce with the consistency needed at the Major League level.
And that's where Cherington will examine how he could have evaluated better.
"Going back to last offseason, we felt like as we looked towards 2014, '15 and beyond, trying to build a team that could sustain a level of success, we felt at some point we were going to have to integrate some young position players, and then at some point we were going to have to integrate some young pitching," said Cherington. "We really didn't want to do both at once if we could avoid it. Given where people were in their development, we felt there was a better chance to integrate some young players in '14 knowing that inevitably, there was going to be some transition on the pitching side after that.
"So looking back on it, what we tried to do was build a team that would allow for that, where young players were protected enough where we could still be competitive and winning, and then get into a season and make adjustments if we had to. That was our plan. It's certainly fair to say we didn't execute the plan as well as we should have. That's what I look back on and ask myself, 'Is there a better way I we could've executed the plan'? and the answer is yes, because the results are the results."
Much like after the last-place finish of 2012, Cherington had a clear resolve about him as he spoke on Monday.
"We need to execute better and that leads to better performance, and I take responsibility ultimately for the performance," Cherington said. "We're not going to and we can't shy away from the idea of committing to young players when they prove they should be committed to. That's still going to be the best way we can sustain a level of success over a long period of time."