How has Cherington fared so far?

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How has Cherington fared so far?

CHICAGO -- The interleague meeting between the Red Sox and Chicago Cubs this weekend has already brought with it an analysis of Theo Epstein's 10-year tenure as general manager of the Sox -- a period that began with such promise and ended in a far less satisfactory manner.
But with Epstein focused on revitalizing the last-place Cubs, perhaps this is also a good time to evaluate how his successor, Ben Cherington, has fared.
Cherington was hired last October, on the very same day that Epstein was introduced as president of the Cubs. That's fitting in a sense, given that the two will, for some time, be linked.
The 2012 Red Sox are, in large part, still Epstein's team. It was on his watch that the entire starting rotation was either signed, drafted or traded for. The same can be said of the starting infield, and much of the rest of the roster.
Cherington also took over at a time when a new austerity swept Yawkey Way, limiting his ability to makeover the roster with budget-busting signings or deals.
It's also Cherington's misfortune to have the club beset with a rash of injuries that decimated the roster. The Sox had projected their outfield to feature Carl Crawford in left, Jacoby Ellsbury in center and perhaps a platoon of Cody Ross and Ryan Kalish in center field.
Crawford and Kalish have yet to play a single game. Ellsbury played a week before suffering a shoulder injury during the home opener and by the time he returns from a broken boot in his foot, Ross will have missed nearly a month.
Andrew Bailey, perhaps Cherington's biggest acquisition in his first six months on the job, suffered a thumb injury in spring training and is weeks away from throwing his first regular season pitch in a Red Sox uniform.
Cherington's first draft took place earlier this month and it will be years before it can properly evaluated.
Here's a look a the moves he's made to date which can be judged -- The Good, The Bad and The Too Soon to Tell.

THE GOOD:
Cody RossRoss was signed to a 3 million deal for 2012, and at the time of his injury, was second on the team in homers and slugging percentage. Ross has proven to be an adventure defensively -- even in left field at Fenway, where the challenges aren't great.
But as an offensive player, he's got plenty of value, especially given his relatively modest salary. It's possible that Ross could be dealt in the second half of the season when Ellsbury, Crawford and Kalish return to full health.
If not, he's an affordable and productive free agent signing.

Mike AvilesNo, Cherington didn't trade for him, but he did advocate that Aviles be the team's starting shortstop at a time when manager Bobby Valentine was clearly pushing for Jose Iglesias to take over the job.
Cherington made the right call here, reasoning that Aviles was better than he was being given credit for. That's proved correct, with Aviles currently second on the team in RBI and first among major league shortstops.
Moreover, Aviles has done a nice job at short. He doesn't possess great range, but he's been relatively sure-handed and has done a nice job on double plays with second baseman Dustin Pedroia.

Kelly ShoppachShoppach won't win any Mr. Congeniality awards, but he's hit .282.373.533 and though Shoppach is supposed to crush lefthanded pitching, he's actually hit better against righties this year.
Shoppach has thrown out a respectable 29 percent of opposing basestealers and his overall .905 OPS represents a bargain for a player signed to a modest one-year (1.14 million) deal.

David OrtizCherington wouldn't give Ortiz the long-term extension the slugger wanted, and while it can be argued that the 15 million is too much for a DH, there's no arguing Ortiz's production this year -- or the benefit of a one-year commitment.

THE BAD:
Jed Lowrie and Kyle Weiland for Mark MelanconIt can be misleading to judge trades this soon, but for now, the Sox got the short end of this deal.
Lowrie, who couldn't stay healthy in Boston, has played well as the Astros' everyday shortstop (.279.354.515) while displaying surprising power (12 homers). Weiland underwent shoulder surgery in early May after three poor outings.
Meanwhile, Melancon pitched himself back to the minors after just two weeks and only recently retutrned to the majors. In time, Melancon may develop into a reliable seventh- and eighth-inning reliever. But for now, this trade favors the Astros.

Josh Reddick, Miles Head and Raul Alcantara for Andrew Bailey and Ryan SweeneyReddick has been a revelation for the A's, with 14 homers -- or, more than he had in parts of three seasons with the Red Sox. Perhaps more amazingly, he's done it in a big ballpark with virtually no protection in an otherwise feeble Oakland lineup.
Sweeney, too, has outstripped expectations, hitting .301 though, as expected, showing little power (zero homers in 175 plate appearances). With Ellsbury sidelined, Sweeney is the best Red Sox defender in the outfield, capable of playing bothcenter and right and even when the others return, he can be a useful role player off the bench.
It's Bailey, however, who was supposed to be the centerpiece of the deal, but there's nothing on which to evaluate him -- yet. Cherington had hoped to obtain an effective closer whom he could contractually control for a number of seasons. But to date, Bailey has merely been as injury-prone as he was in Oakland.

Nick PuntoOn the same day he dealt away Lowrie, Cherington signed the veteran utility player to a two-year deal. Punto went the entire month of May without a hit and is hitting just .209. He's hit better of late and has played a few infield positions without an issue. Still, the two-year commitment seemed a reach last winter and looks even more so after 2 12 months of the season. Daniel Bard as a starterThis was Bard's choice, but Cherington backed it fully, even when Valentine wanted Bard to go back to the bullpen during spring training. To date, to put it plainly, it's been an unmitigated disaster. Bard, demoted back to Triple A, looks lost on the mound.

TOO SOON TO TELL: Bob McClureCherington had his first manager foisted upon him by CEO Larry Lucchino, retained holdovers Tim Bogar, Gary Tuck and Dave Magadan and allowed Valentine to hire Jerry Royster as his third base coach. McClure, who had already been hired as a scoutminor league coordinator, was the choice for pitching coach, but with less than half a season, it's difficult to assess McClure's impact one way or another.

Scott PodsednikPodsednik has been a nice find off the scrapheap, obtained for virutally nothing from the Phillies' Triple A team. But 16 games does not a career renaissance make.

Quotes, notes and stars: Barnes takes the blame in loss

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Quotes, notes and stars: Barnes takes the blame in loss

BOSTON -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 10-4 loss to the Kansas City Royals:

QUOTES

“That one’s one me. I’ve got to do a better job of securing that lead and getting out of that inning.” - Matt Barnes on giving up the lead.

“When he tries to go down and away to right-handers, the ball’s leaking back to the middle a bit. That was the case against [Lorenzo] Cain [and Raul] Mondesi in this case tonight. It’s on the plate first pitch, bases loaded he’s trying to get a strike to get ahead. But in general, Barnes has pitched to the edge at times and missed, and then when he’s on the plate it’s probably found the middle of the plate a bit too much.” - John Farrell on Barnes’ outing.

“I think everybody in that bullpen believes in every single person down there.” - Barnes said on the bullpen.

“It was good, everything was good . . . Just the fastball command was a little out of control.” - Eduardo Rodriguez on his left hamstring and his performance.

 

NOTES

* David Ortiz launched his 31st home run of the season, which also marked the 534th of his career, tying Jimmie Foxx for 18th on the all-time home run chart.

* Mookie Betts recorded his Major League-leading 56th multi-hit game of the season.

* Jackie Bradley Jr. finished 1-for-2, bumping his average to .317 (77-for-243) at Fenway this season.

* The Red Sox grounded into four double plays, tying their season high on 6/12 against Minnesota.

* Matt Barnes’ ERA jumped from 3.68 before Sunday’s game to 4.45 after giving up 5 runs without recording an out.

 

STARS

1) Raul Mondesi

Mondesi’s bases-clearing triple in the sixth opened the floodgates and gave Kansas City the lead they would continue to build off.

2) Matt Strahm

 Strahm relieved Yordano Ventura after his short 4 and 1/3-inning outing. He held the Red Sox scoreless through 2.2 innings to earn his second win of the season.

3) Salvador Perez

Perez launched his sixth home run in his last eight games against Boston. He became the Royal to homer in three-straight games at Fenway since Billy Butler did in 2011.

First impressions: Red Sox implode in 6th inning, lose to Royals, 10-4

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First impressions: Red Sox implode in 6th inning, lose to Royals, 10-4

BOSTON -- First impressions from the Red Sox' 10-4 loss to the Kansas City Royals:

 

Boston’s bullpen continues to be a roll of the dice every night.

This time Matt Barnes was the latest reliever to suffer from the plague that’s filled this bullpen all season.

Part of it was bad luck on two perfectly placed balls, the other part was Raul Mondesi lacing a triple, and Lorenzo Cain smacking a single.

Robbie Ross was better, but not by much.

No lead seems safe in the hands of any Boston reliever.

 

David Ortiz keeps putting himself in the same breath as legendary Hall of Famers.

This time it was former Red Sox great Jimmie Foxx, who Ortiz is now tied with at 534 home runs, 18th all time.

Early in the season he’d match a legendary player every so often, it was impressive. Now it’s almost to be expected every night he plays.

Next on the all-time home run list is Yankee Legend Mickey Mantle with 536.

 

The bottom of the order continues to play an important role in Boston’s run production.

Chris Young got things started in the fifth, then Sandy Leon and Jackie Bradley Jr. kept it rolling so both Brock Holt and Xander Bogaerts could cash in all three runners.

Moving JBJ back to ninth Saturday proved to be a good move, and moving Leon back down with his recent scuffles seems to be the best move, too.

Not only can they knock each other in any given instance, but they also put Dustin Pedroia (or Holt) and Bogaerts in run-producing situations, as opposed to just setting the table.

 

Chris Young’s hamstring shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

He was able to leg out the soft grounder to third base in the first inning.

Young has lost a step or two with age, but it seemed like he opened it up on the play.

Hopefully that’s a sign of the end of the injuries in left field this season.

 

Junichi Tazawa looked strong.

That’s more so an observation of his fastball reaching 94 mph.

Tazawa has a long way to go before he’s back to where he was, but the righty took a step in the right direction Sunday night. He retired Kansas City’s 2-3-4 hitters in his first inning and working past a leadoff single in his second inning of work.