Full disclosure here. I know Ben Cherington and I like him. He is a really good guy. I was as happy for him when the Sox won it all in 2013 as I was for anyone. With all the crap he put up with in 2012, he deserved it.
Since joining the Red Sox organization as a scout in 1999, he has be more than a loyal soldier. In 2005 he was forced to take part in that charade when he was named co-general manager with Jed Hoyer when Theo Epstein and his gorilla suit followed Pearl Jam through South America.
Then just when he got his chance and was properly named Red Sox GM in 2011, Larry Lucchino hired Bobby “I invented the wrap” Valentine.
Ben had no shot that year. He could only bite his lip and wait for baseball operations to re-gain its clout which it did in 2013.
John Farrell was a great hire and in fairness to Larry I think the entire team wanted him all along. Then Ben brought in Gomes, Victorino and Napoli. After the closer situation blew up multiple times, Cherington pickup Koji Uehara became the man. All of these moves turned out to be money. For a year. And even Ben would admit there was a lot of luck involved in 2013. Still, they won and Ben deserves credit for that.
Now, Cherington can truly prove himself as a baseball architect. The rules have been clearly stated by John Henry. It appears Cherington will not have the benefit of deep financial pockets that his predecessor had to make up for mistakes such as Edgar Renteria and Julio Lugo. And superstars over 30 need not apply.
Still, he is not the only GM to have these parameters placed on him. However, it is unfortunate that a big market, highly profitable team such as the Red Sox is imposing this philosophy.
He is the person worth watching from this point forward. What will Cherington do if Xander Boegarts and Jackie Bradley Jr. do not become consistent performers? If Yoenis Cespedes does not re-sign here how does he replace him left field? Will Allan Craig turn out to be the best part of yesterday? How does he replace Koji? The guy is freaking 40.
Are the Sox young arms overrated? Will all of the buzz about Henry Owens should the lefty be considered to be more than a number three? And the biggest question of all.
How does he replace Jon Lester?
No doubt, when Ben was beating the bushes as a scout back in 1999 he was dreaming of a chance to build his own team. Now, he has his chance.