Cherington: Despite talks, nothing compelling
Red Sox GM holds off on big move at Deadline, but process just beginning
BOSTON -- With every phone call Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington fielded with teams in recent days, his motive was to improve his club for 2016 and beyond. That quest will largely be tabled until the offseason, as the Red Sox didn't find anything appealing enough to make a splash prior to Friday's non-waiver Trade Deadline.
The only transaction Boston made on Friday was a complementary one -- the acquisition of righty reliever Ryan Cook from the Athletics for a player to be named or cash.
It was much different from a year ago, when Cherington was at the center of the action, trading Jon Lester, Jonny Gomes, John Lackey, Andrew Miller and Stephen Drew.
"We had a busy few days," Cherington said. "We worked on a lot of stuff. We talked about a lot of stuff -- big, small and in between. In the end, we didn't find enough compelling to do much. It didn't come our way. But I thought we had a really productive week nonetheless.
"We got a lot of information. We had a lot of work and discussion, but not as much activity this year."
The Red Sox did deal Shane Victorino to the Angels for Josh Rutledge earlier in the week. Veterans Mike Napoli, Justin Masterson and Alejandro De Aza, who are all free agents at the end of the season, remain candidates to potentially be traded in August if they make it through waivers.
"Yeah, there was some interest," said Cherington. "Again, it just didn't get to a level where we felt compelled to do anything. Without getting into specific names or guys, there could be things that we look at in August along those lines. We'll just have to wait and see."
The Red Sox entered action on Friday with a 45-58 record and 13 games out of first place in the American League East. There's a chance Boston will finish in last place for the third time in the last four years.
"It's incumbent upon us to make real improvement between now and Opening Day. We didn't feel like it had to be this week," Cherington said. "We went into it with the mindset of, 'We're going to pursue things that we think fall in line with improving us between now and Opening Day, and if we find those things, we'll do it now, we'll pursue it; and if not, we'll wait and tackle it in the offseason.'
"We talked about all sorts of stuff. I think we learned a lot about our players, other players, what could be available going forward. The timing, it just didn't line up to make a lot of moves now. We know what we need to do going forward, and we have more information to guide us going into the offseason."
To Cherington, it is clear the areas in which his team needs to improve.
"Pitching and defense -- I see the two as connected," Cherington said. "I think we need to improve in both areas and some of that undoubtedly will have to be with some additions from outside, and we think we know more about what those possibilities might be now than we did a week ago.
"And a lot of it has to continue to be with improvement internally and guys that are here, getting more out of those guys. But I think the pitching and defense has to improve, and we see those two things as connected and really have to improve in concert and help each other."
The Red Sox are hopeful they can have another turnaround like the one in 2013.
"I think we can envision a good team here quickly," Cherington said. "It's fixable, but not easy. It's not like one action or one piece or one move. It's going to have to be, as I mentioned before, a number of things both in terms of potential personnel this offseason but also just finding ways to get more out of the guys we have here.
"Our play has not been nearly good enough. There's no other way to say it. When you've performed the way we have, you have to look under every rock and look at every possible way to get better. That's what we're going to have to do. But it's doable, absolutely. We can envision a very good team here quickly, but we'll have to do a good job and we'll have to work hard and it's not going to be one thing."