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Cherington talks about pitching options

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  December 16, 2011 05:52 PM

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Red Sox GM Ben Cherington was on MLB Network Radio channel on SiriusXM today and opined on a few topics:

On free agents Joe Saunders and Ryan Madson: "We’ve had conversations with the agents for both guys as well as several others, other free agent options, and we’ll continue dialogue. Again, we don’t have as much room in our payroll as we’ve had in previous years but we’re trying to figure out ways, again, to improve our pitching staff. May need to deal with it more creative this winter, in doing that than in some other winters, but we’re not ruling out anything and we’ll certainly continue dialogue with a handful of free agents and then obviously also the trade front.”

On payroll flexibility: "I'm not sure we need a lot. We have the core of a really good team. ... We don't have as much as we've had in the past but we still have a very significant payroll."

On the team's needs at this point: “We’re still focused on adding to the pitching staff, looking at free agent options and looking at trade options in order to do that. We feel pretty good about where we are at the top of our rotation. We’re looking to build depth and quality depth. When you look back at 2011, that’s really where our problem ended up being. We just ran out of depth. We were running into situations late in the season where we were just hoping to get into the fifth inning with a starter, and that makes it hard to win. We placed so much of a burden on the bullpen. So that’s really been our focus of this offseason.”

On Daniel Bard and Alfredo Aceves: "We're trying to keep our options open and bringing those guys to camp as starters, they can mentally and physically prepare to do that. They're both open to pitching in whatever role is best for the team. Some of that will be dictated by moves we make this offseason and some of it will be dictated by them. ... We'll know a lot more on March 15."

On the Theo Epstein compensation talks: “I think sometime in the next 15 to 20 years we should have a resolution. I think at some point this offseason we will put that to bed. People get tired of this answer but it's mostly because we've had other things to do. We have a basic understanding of about what the level of compensation should be. We differ by degree. At some point that will be resolved. It’s not really holding up anything else.”

Cherington said his dealings with Bobby Valentine have been "illuminating" in the sense of Valentine presenting opinions about players on the roster. ... In terms of Jason Varitek, Cherington said he really wants a chance to talk to him. "We want Tek to be part of the organization in the long term," he said. ... Cherington said he has interviewed Brad Arnsberg and Neil Allen for the pitching coach position. "We haven't made a decision. We're closer to a decision," he said. "Bobby and I are taking our time to get it right. There are others we've talked about."

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