Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington indicated that the team will likely add a player or two before spring training, either through trade or free agency.
Cherington, appearing at the "Hot Stove Cool Music" roundtable at Fenway Park on Tuesday night, also said that he will find out — like everyone else — which team lands prized Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka later this week.
While Cherington acknowledged that the Red Sox engaged in discussions with Tanaka and his agent, Casey Close, the expectation among team sources is that Boston is not among the finalists for him.
“We’ve had discussion with him and I think out of respect to him and his representatives and the process they’re going through, I just don’t think it’s right for me to say much more than that," Cherington said. "We respect him as a pitcher. We certainly respect the process he’s going through trying to make a decision."
Cherington indicated that he could still add a bullpen arm or two, an outfielder, or an infielder. That could be on a minor league deal.
Dialogue with shortstop Stephen Drew has continued, but the sides appear no closer to coming to an agreement. Cherington reiterated that he is happy with the team as constituted, with Xander Bogaerts starting at shortstop and Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field.
“I think it’s likely we’ll add to the roster," said the GM. "Whether it be in the form of a major league deal or a minor league deal remains to be seen. But confident that we’ll add some players before spring training. We’re actively working on that now.
"There’s still some areas we’d like to beef up a little bit and add some depth to. So we’ll see. Hopefully we’re getting closer on a couple things.”
Cherington spoke about the challenge of trying to repeat and said he and his staff studied the recent teams that have done so: the 1998-2000 Yankees and the 1992-93 Blue Jays. He said the common denominator was bringing back a young core of players year after year.
The GM said Dustin Pedroia and Shane Victorino are coming along fine after offseason surgeries and should be ready for spring training. Otherwise, there shouldn’t be health concerns with any other players entering camp.
Cherington was part of a panel moderated by Peter Gammons on behalf of the Foundation to be Named Later, which was founded by Theo and Paul Epstein. Also on the panel were Red Sox manager John Farrell, assistant GM Mike Hazen, farm director Ben Crockett, pitcher Craig Breslow, longtime Globe columnist Bob Ryan, WEEI baseball writer Alex Speier, and WEEI host Michael Holley.