BOSTON -- Ben Cherington was the man making the decisions when constructing the 2014 incarnation of the Red Sox around a core that had recently won the World Series.
That the team is now in last place in the American League East and looking like sellers before the trade deadline is on him, he said Wednesday.
The Red Sox designated for assignment one of Cherington's most significant offseason acquisitions AJ Pierzynski before Wednesday's game with the White Sox -- a move Cherington said likely would not have occurred had the team been in a better spot in the standings.
"As I explained to AJ, I take responsibility for where we are," Cherington said. "If the team's record was different, then we may not have done something like this right now. But we are where we are so we need to start looking at things a little bit differently and this is a part of that."
Cherington met with a group of reporters Wednesday night and said that the move to call up rookie Christian Vazquez to take Pierzynski's place isn't necessarily an indicator that the team is taking an "Everything must go!" seller's approach. They are leaving their options open, however.
"We'll see. We're in an unusual and perhaps unique position," Cherington said. "It's unusual in the sense that we haven't been in this position -- at least since I've been here -- in a position of even thinking about trading players at the deadline, so that's unusual. It's unique because on the one hand, our team is where it is, on the other hand we've got guys on the team who are performing at a very high level who were winning a World Series months ago. That just doesn't happen often. That doesn't happen often in baseball. Sometimes teams are sellers but not necessarily with guys who are coming off success like that.
"We'll just have to see what happens. As I've said before. Whatever we do will be with the mind of trying to get better as quickly as possible and trying to build the next good team as quickly as possible."
Despite what Wednesday's move -- and any future moves -- may signal, Cherington said the Red Sox have not given up on the 2014 season. "Crazy things happen in this game," Cherington said.
He added: "I still hope we go on a run and our outlook changes, but that's where we are right now."
Pierzynski is the third offseason pickup that the Red Sox have DFA'd, including Chris Capuano and Grady Sizemore. One season after signing a handful of free agents who played key roles in a World Series title run -- Koji Uehara, Shane Victorino and David Ross among them -- his rolls of the dice this year have turned up snake eyes.
"It just hasn't worked out," Cherington said. "I wouldn't put it on those three guys, it just hasn't worked as a team and obviously I take responsibility for the total performance . . . Ultimately that's on me, that's my responsibility to do something about it."