Cherington: Trade winds aren't blowing for Red Sox yet

Cherington: Trade winds aren't blowing for Red Sox yet
June 10, 2014, 6:30 pm
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(AP Photo)

BALTIMORE -- If you're hoping for some immediate help from the trade market for the Red Sox woes, be prepared to wait a while.

General manager Ben Cherington, who arrived in Baltimore Tuesday, told reporters that a significant trade seven weeks before the deadline is highly unlikely, and that most of the improvement must come from within.

"We're obviously not happy with where we are,'' said Cherington. "We're (28-35) - that's not up to our standards, that's not where we want to be. Ultimately, it's up to me to find a way to make it better. We still believe it's going to get better. We believe that we have a very good team ahead of us this year and most of that is going to come from within, with guys here performing and getting back to a level they're accustomed to.

"If we can do that, start playing a little better and win some games and hang in there, we'll try to find any way we can to make improvements to the team as the summer goes on. But at this point, this early in the season, we're still mostly focused on the guys that are here and finding a way to play better with the guys that are here.''

Now that the draft is over, major league executives and evaluators are taking stock of their teams and the needs they might have for the rest of the season.

But Cherington suggested it's difficult to put together a deal more than a month-and-a-half before the deadline.

"I think there's a need to play better and a need to find ways to get better in all sorts of different ways,'' said Cherington. "As I said, that's my responsibility. I'm not saying we wouldn't consider moves. It's just that this early in the season, typcially, you're sort of talking other teams into doing things and that doesn't always leave you in the best position to make deals.

"I wouldn't rule it out. We'll see. But we're going to get [outfielder Shane] Victorino back. We're going to get, hopefully, our core lineup out there more consistently and we believe that in core lineup and that core group of players and we believe that we've got a lot of wins in us, with that core, without adding to it.

"If we could add to it, whether it's sooner or later, toward the dealdine in a way that makes sense, of course we're going to work to do it. Again, that's up to me. But mostly, we're going to focus on the guys that are here.''

Asked to explain the team's underperformance, Cherington was at a loss.

"I wouldn't assign it to injuries,'' he said. "I don't know. It's a variety of things. We would have guessed, coming in, that in all likelihood, we would face a little bit more adversity than we did last year. That's just the way baseball goes. And we have in different ways.

"Offensively, we just haven't clicked in any consistent way. We've been in most games because we're running pretty good pitchers out there most often. We just haven't clicked offensively and I can't point to one thing for a reason. We know we have to get better and we believe we will. But we're not there yet.''

Cherington touched on a host of other topics:

Jackie Bradley Jr. and Grady Sizemore

"We're talking about two very different players there,'' said Cherington. "In Jackie's case, he's playing very good defense. He's grindiing. He's making offensive adjustments. He's here every day, working to get better. He's a very important guy for us and we feel he's the right guy to be our center fielder.

"In Grady's case, we've seen flashes. I think he would tell you he hasn't been as consistent as he'd like to be, hasn't made the impact that he'd like to. He's here. He's one of our 25 guys and John [Farrell] is trying to put him in a position to succeed. We believe Grady Sizemore is going to be a good major-league player again and we're going to do whatever we can to help him be that guy here.''

The core outfield

"It's still evolving,'' said Cherington. "We came into the year thinking in left field we were going to have somehting analogous to last year, something with [Jonny]  Gomes and [Daniel] Nava or some other left-handed hitter. In right field, we certainly expected to have Victorino out there; we hope that he will be out there soon.

"In spring training, the question was on center field. Grady played his way onto the team and then we had an injury and Jackie was on the team. His defense was so good that he kind of takes over. We expected Jackie to be our center fielder of the future back this winter; we just didn't know what date that was going to start. I don't think anything's really changed.

"We just haven't had that corner group out there consistently and we just haven't had the production out of the corners that we thought we would.''

Cherington was asked if the Sox began this season with enough outfield depth.

"I guess you can never have enough,'' he said. "We though we did. We felt like it was a combination of guys, including Nava, [Mike] Carp, Gomes, Victorino, Bradley, Sizemore, [Bryce] Brentz . . . on down the line. We felt we have enough good players and enough good options to be deep enough in the outfield. There's been a combination of under-performance from some of those guys and injuries to others that has kind of (depleted) that a little bit so it's shown up.

"Ultimately, it's my responsibility to figure that out and make it better. We felt like we did have enough depth. To this point, we haven't gotten the production out of the outfield that we need to. We still feel like we can.''