Cherington on the draft: 'We're not going to go after need'

Cherington on the draft: 'We're not going to go after need'
June 1, 2012, 5:49 am
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BOSTON -- The Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft is next week, and prior to Thursday's game against the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park, general manager Ben Cherington met with the media to discuss his strategy for what will be his first draft as Red Sox GM.
But according to him, at least, his team hasn't yet discussed a specific strategy. As of Thursday, they were still just putting the players in order.
One thing is for sure. They aren't going to draft based on need.
"We're not going to go after need," said Cherington on Thursday. "We'll target the best player available at each pick. We're looking for the best full return from this draft class."
When asked if there would ever be a situation in which the Red Sox would make a pick based on need, Cherington said that it's unlikely, but don't rule anything out.
"Generally, we have not done that," said Cherington. "Baseball, as everyone here knows, it's a different beast than some other sports, because there's so much that can happen. So much happens between the time you draft a guy -- even the guys you think are closest to the big leagues, a highly-advanced college player. There's still a transition, there's still a development path that needs to be taken.
"And so much can change, not just from the player, but with our needs," added Cherington. "Our needs could look different six weeks from now, never mind three years from now. So, it's a dangerous game, I think, if you get into drafting for needs. We're just going to focus on trying to find the best possible impact and do as well as we can with each pick."
Cherington recalled the first amateur player he ever saw as an area scout. It was Josh Hamilton.
"I thought, wow, this is pretty easy, that guy looks good," he recalled. "And then the next few games, it was a little harder to pick them out."
Now, without Theo Epstein, Cherington is in charge. But with the familiar and experienced staff he looks around and sees in the Red Sox draft room, he believes the decision-making process will be very similar to how it has been in the past.
"There's a lot of things that feel very similar," said Cherington. "I'm in the room with a bunch of people that I've been in the room with for several years. We're using a lot of the same philosophies and the same standards to set the board up. We're talking about the same things that we care about. Ultimately, we have the same goal."