John Henry 1-on-1
Fri, 15 Feb 2013|
John Henry sits down with CSNNE.com's Red Sox Insider Sean McAdam to discuss everything Red Sox.
We are about a week in the spring training John Henry and both. You and Larry Lucchino Tom Warner. Have. Presence here at the spring training and seemed a little bit more high profile is that the cost conscious effort to be a little bit more visible with sprint. Well you know which we try to be accessible once a year. Sometimes twice a year so. And it's just this time of year where it's always important this time years to get. Answers questions people have. So that's what we're doing. A lot of the interviews with both yourself and -- and Larry naturally. Centered around. The struggles the team this wants a couple of years. So. Claims that perhaps the team -- for -- some suggestions that distracted by other business interest and find yourself. Being on the defensive more than you'd like having to read about things that you've. No because we only do this once he. Now. When I run in the fans that's a different it's completely different conversation. Did any of that so I don't feel on defense at all. So that probably sounds offensively we have to answer particular question especially finish last place you should be on the defensive. So. Or at least put on the defense. But. The answer is is no I think it our main consideration and think what occupies the thoughts really. And so getting back on the winning track and today we. We heard from in general manager and manager or CEO. And few other people in there today and first team meeting and it. -- it was it it was exciting and -- there's. In in my mind recently. Strong feeling about this team where we're headed this year. He talked about interaction with the fans what's your sense of what your perceptions. In 2013. Of Red Sox. What's what is your sense of -- wasn't right you and how how do you go about perhaps. Shaping that are changing and if you think it's an unfair so. And I don't think. As I said I keep running and the fans here as well -- in Boston. Who are extremely supportive. You know they they made is -- -- are calling and saying you know these guys are bombs or whatever but it's. I. I continue to years thank you. With regard to part with regard to. Great times that we've had. And I would say that. Everyone run into who's been supportive. It's remarks earlier this week about. How. Things changed in the CBA. It's more difficult perhaps to take advantage of your big market status than it was when you bought the team back in 2002. That's that given that you are very much analytical person. What you do to. Perhaps come up with the new metrics new ways to quantify and to keep yourself that advantage that you once had. Back in 20032000. I don't think that. Then it's it's a case of us. You know qualification and it's more a case of the rules have changed. And so so much our philosophy you I did talk with that separately but it. But the rules of baseball. Have changed and and that's why you see the Yankees and Red Sox being more cautious. And constraint frankly we're constrained. You know with -- I would simulate the rules are lower with regard to the amateur draft. And for offshore signs -- internationals well so it's really created. You know for instance we signed middle works and Rizzo. And that's what was the fifth and sixth or sixth and seventh rounds. You just can't do that anymore so who that makes it that makes it much more challenging very very aggressive. And those areas. But also payrolls much more challenging now because of of you CDs and ways that structured. So where's the next pitch -- and what if you count your people including Bill James and others and he does for a -- to find that injury. -- doesn't think. Maybe we -- people in general think too much about what's your what you're edge. We we've always been at a disadvantage to the Yankees. Yet for the last decade we've gone toe to toe with them. It's been. Pretty pretty dead even wouldn't say so. They've always had an advantage. Over us as far as payroll flexibility and so forth so. You just have to be you have to try to be Smart that's inevitably what you're edges you have to be smarter and we had. I think such a financial advantage along with the Yankees that we didn't have to be as Smart as we have to be now so. We can't afford to make some kind of mistakes we've made. In the Pakistan and you know well with the and and you've seen you've seen change. When you look at it. The Red Sox have consistently been among the top three sometimes top five but upper Echelon in the game in terms of -- and able. And yet when you look at teams that are most successful two of the last three world championship teams -- the San Francisco Giants for the budget down. Closer to a hundred million a lot closer to a 100000200. -- that given you pause along with -- your struggles. The team struggles the Yankees having won only one World Series since. 2001. Does that give you pause to think about the significance -- the relationship between the big payroll and success the team that. So much of that so. You know I have to I have to agree refused should give you profits when. But. We've known that payroll is who we know payroll as a certain correlation with success in baseball. And it's not really low correlation. For for many many years. The playoff teams generally were in the top ten eight playoff teams would be. Top ten payroll generally. So there is well over a long period of time correlations -- short period time you anomalies. But. But as as I say really. The -- really with the San Francisco Giants. What or lessons being in the same division every year with the Yankees is you really have to. Be Smart and they they really have there there general managers of their organization. Top to bottom has done things the right way. So we've got to give them credit. On the so. -- of the yankees' payroll the Yankees have made it very clear that is their intention. To get under the luxury tax threshold of a 189 million starting next year so -- can effectively reset the clock not they've been healthy. Will that -- -- goal of the Red Sox will make sure you are under that 189 million dollar figure here. Our goal this year was to get close to. Try to do everything we could get close to -- because. In our payroll had fallen so precipitously. So I think. I won't be so much that you're looking to get under it is we'll be looking to try to get in that in this general vicinity. But so we've always been over it with a few exceptions I think last year. Because of the trade. We. The big trade that rapidly this season the Dodgers we ended up just slightly under which uses -- and I think the first time we've been under. And long time. But the penalties are much more severe now then they used to be the double edged. Double edge to minds. At least double what they were so. And there are benefits to being under Simpson's. Sanchez. Qualifying for essentially your rebate of some of them been sharing. Which is huge it's it's huge. So as I said there are multiple. There are multiple. Challenges that face the Yankees and face the Red Sox in. Trying to continue to be successful they've been in the past but I think you'll see that success continue. You referenced the big trade with the Dodgers and when you sleep last August unloading a lot of contracts that have become untenable. And a promise to be more disciplined some fans here that and worry. That you will not again be big players in free agency having been burned on some big deals. What do you say to them about the team's willingness to go out and did for the best -- completely. Only in the history of doing that as I said we have to be smarter and he he can't. It's not good policy in general to give that extra year. Or or perhaps to give them extra. X amount of dollars every year to every. Everyone's frankly it's not really necessary because. Players wanna play boss. Last year might have been in an exception. When it. Since we've been here players wanna be in Boston players who know me you know the players that I saw it. I've seen this week has -- today are really excited about this. -- what baseball means in this community and to be a part of this this great franchise. And yet when you go out and start hitting on. See Josh Hamilton Zack Greinke is perhaps down the road Clayton Kershaw Justin Verlander. The industry standard is that the best players Donald would get the highest annual average salary but they get that long -- 670. You -- Can you reverse that trend by experts from loading deals and getting. Players to come here for a shorter period by significantly -- seeing other people in the near term. Well that's what we've done we had the flexibility to be able to do that this year but -- but. I think through. Did the biggest point you make along those lines is that baseball is changing it really is changing. I think we all see I think younger players are having more of an impact on the game than they did five years ago. And it's actually see it for a little more than National League and you haven't America doing that still. And and I think -- that's a continuing trend. And so it means you have to -- you have to be very Smart -- draft you can't trade away draft picks. So. But but we're going to be yeah I I know we didn't sign any really long term deals this year. But. You know we're we're hopeful of doing you deal with Jacoby. We'll have. Jon Lester. And Dustin Pedroia coming out there and so it's not just. It's not just free agency -- you know we have done a lot of long term deals including a couple that I just mentioned. Homegrown and you might say deals and and so it. I don't think people should worry about that aspect I think that that. The fact that baseball is changing and if we weren't prepared to change these things should. They should worry. You mention Jacoby Ellsbury who was eligible for free agency for this year. That would seem to be a potentially difficult negotiation on the ones off course girl them successfully negotiated what are you saying him. In the past. And then you have a player who's had difficulty staying on the field and staying healthy to establish his market value. Might be on the free agent market. -- -- Seven or eight months ago before he reaches free agency. What can say about what -- -- future with -- -- I don't think we lose we look at him as a as injury prone or injury risk me. Some of these injuries who that he's had some of them -- really -- -- I mean really lucky. And so that's that's really not entering into. Are thinking he is. If not the premiere certainly one of the premier center fielders in baseball and so. So who will rule. We'll do everything we can deter. Ensure that he stays through the rest of us. It has been. The stage frustrating part for us yours. Three straight well appearances. Yeah to go back to the knee in the playoff series teams that have been one. Three managers in three years after you finished last place. And our patience. Tried. And if you are talking about getting back to a more disciplined approach -- -- that do when you know there's an appetite. From the fans that they want to win now having missed out. Well I don't think anyone wants to win now more than we do I. The one of the advantages we have in this people -- market in this in this area is that. We have extremely knowledgeable baseball fans. So if they feel like that you're headed in the right direction. You don't necessarily have to. To win in any given year but from my perspective I think we have a very good chance to win this year I'm very optimistic. About this year. So. I don't necessarily think they have to I think the American League east you and I retirement earlier today the American League east is. Really going to be uninteresting interesting. A race that you have five teams that all of potential to win this thing so. So I don't think. That's an issue and I think that it that if they see is getting younger and they see as she uses it you using some discipline. That will be heartened by that. And let's -- you're overly cynical. When you. That's Argentina. Talked earlier this week about the sellout streak like he's coming to a man. TV ratings predictably for a team that struggled last year were down. And and you look at other teams in the market and their most recent success do you worry about the Red Sox popularity and standing among fans in the Boston market. I do always. Always worry about you know we had this we've had this. A streak going on for a long time and your average than the previous streak. -- Cleveland Indians we -- we broke. Their record and they. You know they were last I think in attendance last year so. Uh oh it's. From the very beginning we've talked about that -- from from the beginning of the streak and actually enough from beginning probably for the second after a year industry we. So we we worked as hard as we can keep it going and so I did but I am concerned about I am concerned. That being said. Our fans when he six years without the championship and in 2000. After the 2003 playoff I think image that something to use it day after. Aaron Boone hit that home run which was later questioning. For the fans I mean at some point they're going to say this is ridiculous we can't beat the Yankees. And they won't show up and you said I believe that news you know this time. I'm wrong we can this. Dan Shaughnessy. You said don't worry these fans will be back you're stronger than ever. And damned news -- streak continue and we we won so. I don't think you can underestimate. Our fans. On the other end Vince didn't wait so long for that first one and 2004. Got another world championship in 2007. Is there a fear that perhaps. It'll be difficult to reach that mountaintop and of jubilation and celebration came when you won those first two if you could never quite get back in. I don't fear that wrong I am looking forward to that. And -- no fear and then -- bullish on the team's chances. Return there quicker than. Some people -- I don't see why we can't finish first this year we have we have tremendous pitching this year. Dale had Kurt. What's the opposite of a career year. An operation and OK they are at an aberration Utley here last year. We know our pitching staff it was better than that shows last year. And and I think we'll see that -- early issues.