Larry Lucchino runs the Red Sox, as Sox majority owner John Henry reminded us last year. Lucchino literally ran to Monday morning’s interview with WEEI’s “Dennis & Callahan” show, ditching his limo in Kenmore Square in order to be punctual for his spot on the morning of the team’s home opener. The Sox CEO touched on the team’s early start, the Dodgers trade, and last year’s hire of Bobby Valentine.
Lucchino had a bit of news Monday morning, saying that based on his understanding of it, an MRI on John Lackey’s arm revealed a mid-biceps strain and nothing more serious.
“My information is incomplete, but my understanding of his MRI is that he had a mid-biceps strain, no structural damage,” said Lucchino. “When you watched it you couldn’t help but feel sad for John Lackey, who by the way is a very good guy. I know the public perception may be different than that, but he is a great teammate. I think he’s going to miss a start or two, I’m told, but let’s hope it’s not much more than that.”
The Sox are playing well coming into Monday’s home opener vs. the Orioles. Lucchino credits the team’s 4-2 start and strong spring training to manager John Farrell and the team’s chemistry,
“John’s been a great leader,” said Lucchino. “He’s been pitch-perfect all the way along.”
He added, “This is not a fraternity. We’re not pulling together the coolest guys in the class. But it is important. We’re trying to put together a winning baseball team.”
Lucchino was ultimately the man who hired Valentine, who was disastrous in one season as Red Sox manager. The Sox CEO said that he tried to hire Farrell a year earlier, but the Blue Jays would not let him go.
“We conducted a search and decided on Bobby Valentine because Bobby was the best of the people that we had available,” said Farrell. “We had hoped at the beginning of that search that we’d be able to land John Farrell of Toronto.”
From a bad managerial decision to a good one, Lucchino spent a good deal of the interview discussing the trade that sent Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, and Josh Beckett to the Dodgers season. The trade unloaded a huge chunk of Boston’s payroll and allowed them more flexibility for the future. It also brought the Sox back a couple of strong pitching prospects.
“We got a lot of what we wanted,” Lucchino said. “Ben did an excellent job in holding out for the two pitchers [Rubby de la Rosa and Allen Webster]. We would have been happy to get one.”
The Dodgers, Lucchino said, initiated the trade talks.
“I did get the initial call from [Dodgers president] Stan Kasten to inquire if we’d be willing to unload some of our higher-priced players,” said Lucchino. “He actually prefaced it by saying, ‘Larry, I’ve never made a phone call like this before in the history of my time in baseball.’”
With overpaid players like Alex Rodriguez on the roster, the Yankees are in a similar position to the one the Red Sox were in last year. Lucchino was asked if he felt bad for New York.
“No, I don’t think I have that emotion in me,” he said.
Lucchino mentioned last week’s New Yorker magazine cover featuring Yankees players on crutches and in various states of disrepair.
“They will find a way to bounce back. Remember, they’re playing without four or five of their top players.”
On Boston’s budding shortstop controversy, Lucchino said the team would give Stephen Drew a chance at the job when he returns to the team.
“I don’t think our fans have gotten to know Stephen Drew yet. And when they see him play and he produces I think they will understand the dilemma that Jose Iglesias has caused us,” he said.