When discussing past deals, Cherington has what he terms “an allergy’’ to discuss them in detail.
“Not because I’m not willing to take responsibility for a particular decision. In fact, I like to be the first to do that, [because] I am sort of the constant,’’ he said, laughing in part because he was hired here by then-GM Dan Duquette, which means he predates even the John Henry ownership group. “I was here for the decisions in ’09, ’10, and ’11, and I was right here as GM last season when we didn’t get everything right. So I put myself right in the middle of it.’’
Cherington had his thumbprints on the Crawford contract that backfired so badly, although Theo Epstein was the GM who cut the deal. Crawford, injured and ineffective, turned out to be the showcase example of bringing in a veteran who did not help perpetuate success.
‘’I can tell you that there is no one who worked harder to make it work in Boston than Carl Crawford.’’ said Cherington. ‘’I would bet on him moving forward. He was a great player once and he’ll be a great player again.’’
In one of his first moves to help a bullpen that lost closer Jonathan Papelbon to the Phillies, Cherington swapped Josh Reddick to the Athletics for closer Andrew Bailey. Not only did Bailey struggle because of injury, but Reddick, projected as a spare part here, turned in an impressive 32 homers and 85 RBIs in 156 regular-season games with Oakland.
Is there a lesson in the deal?
“I think the lessons are, simply, you look back,’’ said Cherington. “If there are ways to fill a hole and find a solution for a team where you’re not giving up talent, or not giving up much talent, then that’s always optimal. Reddick’s had a good year. Give the A’s credit for recognizing that.’’
And of course there was the hiring of Valentine, a move few believe was fully endorsed by Cherington.
“I believe we both made a really good effort to make it work,’’ said Cherington, again opting not to answer whether Valentine was his pick. “If we are truly moving forward, and if we truly are talking about a fresh start, and truly talking about building the next team, we felt we needed to start in that office, too.’’
The Yawkey Way renaissance is underway. A couple of veterans here, a rookie or two there, a new manager with some pluck and strum, and maybe Cherington gets it all back to bountiful.
“I know we will be better next year than we were this year,’’ he said, when asked how fast he can turn it all around. “We’ll work our tails off . . . there is no one offseason road map to building a perfect team. We’ve just got to try to make the right decisions.’’