Ben Cherington admitted Monday morning the blockbuster trade he completed over the weekend that unloaded $261 million in salaries was not without some pushback from the Red Sox’ front office.
“Carmine hated it,” joked the team’s general manager in an interview on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan program, referring to the computer program the Red Sox use to make evaluations. “I had to argue with her like all night.”
The trade, which sent Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for first baseman James Loney and four prospects, showed the Red Sox are more concerned with winning in 2013 than winning this year.
But the trade had nothing to do with manager Bobby Valentine, Cherington said.
“I was honest with Bobby that in doing the deal we probably were not improving our chances to win Saturday night or yesterday or today or the next day,” Cherington said. “We probably didn’t improve our chances to win over the next six weeks or so.”
Perhaps the most important part of the trade is it frees up payroll space for 2013 and beyond, giving Cherington a chance to build his own team. One of the characteristics he’ll be looking for in free agents and trade targets is discipline.
“Despite the ‘cowboy up’ thing in ‘04, our best teams have been disciplined teams,” Cherington said. “We’re trying to find good value in free agency, good value in trades, but that doesn’t mean you don’t spend money on players. We are going to have a large payroll every year. This is Boston.”
The Red Sox will also have to make decisions on key players like outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who has been the subject of some trade speculation. But Cherington says he hopes Ellsbury will be back next season.
“He knows what it takes to be a great player in Boston,” Cherington said. “He’s the type of guy that we want here.”
Another important player the Red Sox have to make a decision on this offseason is David Ortiz, who will be a free agent this offseason after agreeing to a one-year deal last offseason. Before that discussion, though, Cherington said he expects to make a decision on possibly shutting Ortiz down for the season due to his nagging Achilles injury.
“We don’t believe it’s an issue that will affect him long term but it is an issue right now,” Cherington said. “Sometimes the organization has to do the right thing and take the decision out of the player’s hands. We do need to try to protect him and do what’s right.”
Lenny Neslin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @lsneslin.