ORLANDO, Fla. -- Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said that after his club won the World Series, he got up the next morning and immediately began making plans for next year. And Cherington said Monday night that he planned to approach winning the Sporting News' Executive of the Year Award the same way.
"Honestly, the last thing you think about is something like this," Cherington said after the announcement was made at the kickoff dinner of the annual General Managers Meetings. "Obviously, you think a lot about winning. You think a lot about getting into the postseason and doing well in the postseason. That's something we talk about all the time and think about all the time and work toward all the time. And thankfully, we were able to do that this year, and when things like that happen, other things come along with it. And it means a lot on behalf of the organization. But tomorrow morning, we'll just get back to work, and I won't think about it anymore."
Cherington was credited with a series of savvy moves that helped the Red Sox go from last place in 2012 to the American League's best record in '13. Boston then went on to beat the Cardinals in the World Series. He received 15 votes, beating out Pittsburgh's Neal Huntington (nine), Kansas City's Dayton Moore (four) and Atlanta's Frank Wren (three). The voting was done by a panel of 31 Major League executives.
"Definitely unexpected," Cherington said. "I was telling people in the room that, obviously, I consider this to be an award for the organization, not for me. Coming off the year we had in 2012, I also sort of see it as usually an organization that does work over a period of time, not necessarily one year. So it's a great honor for the organization. I think it speaks to the hard work that a lot of people have done. It's about our ownership and the people who work for me and [manager] John Farrell and his staff and the players. Sort of the same themes we talked about after winning the World Series. I guess this is just another symbol of a good year and a lot of good work from a lot of people."
Said Farrell to The Associated Press: "Ben Cherington deserves all the credit in the world for what he has done for this roster. To come in and see the energy and the commitment that the [players] had, the buying into a team concept every single day, and the one thing that really stands out more than anything is just their overall will to win. And that was no more evident than in this entire postseason."
Cherington is just the third Red Sox executive to win the award, which has been presented since 1936. Previous recipients were Tom Yawkey (1946) and Dick O'Connell ('67 and '75).
"I'm surprised neither Theo [Epstein] nor Dan Duquette won it, because obviously both had success and a lot of good years there," Cherington said.
When he gets back to work, Cherington will focus on continuing to gather intelligence. He doesn't expect to make any concrete moves during these meetings.
"I think these meetings will probably be about just getting information," Cherington said. "I'd be surprised if anything actually happens in the next three days. But hopefully, we'll leave here with more information. I think that's what everyone is trying to do."
Last year, the Red Sox moved quickly to address their needs. This season, the landscape is different.
"I wouldn't rule it out, if something's there that makes sense to us," Cherington said. "We don't feel a need to wait. But I wouldn't expect it to happen. I think the difference this year is that the team is a little more filled out compared to the exact same date [last year]. We probably had more holes last year. Not that we don't have work to do -- we certainly do -- but we probably had a little bit more to do last year, so there was a little bit more urgency to get going then.
"But we're working. And as soon as we woke up after Game 6, we were making calls and doing what we needed to do to gather information and see what's out there both on the trade front and in free agency."
Cherington stressed that the Red Sox remain interested in retaining the three free agents who turned down qualifying offers -- Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Napoli, Stephen Drew -- plus catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. And that reliever Joel Hanrahan and infielder John McDonald also remain on the radar.
"There's a real interest, really in all six of our free agents," Cherington said. "We keep talking about the four. I guess Hanrahan and John McDonald fall into a slightly different category, but of the four guys who were active players at the end of the year and in the playoffs, we continue to have a dialogue with all four. I'd rather not get into the specifics of the conversations, but we have interest in all of them and we've shared information as to what we might be willing to do, and we've gotten feedback from them. So we're just talking and we'll see where that goes."
Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com.