John Henry: ‘We really don’t need to be popular. We need to win.’

02/24/16: Fort Myers, FL: Left to right, Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski, Principal Owner John Henry, and Chariman Tom Werner were seated together in a dugout watching the action on one of the practice fields today. Spring Training for Red Sox players continued at Jet Blue South.(Globe Staff Photo/Jim Davis) section:sports topic:spring training
Left to right, Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski, Principal Owner John Henry, and Chariman Tom Werner. –The Boston Globe

Red Sox principal owner John Henry believes his team made the necessary changes to be successful in 2018, despite the perception that Boston was not aggressive in free agency or on the trade market.

“I think we have the right team,” Henry told media members assembled in Fort Myers Monday. “People don’t like us apparently saying that we won the division the past two years, but we had the best offense in the American League the year before last. We had significant pitching that was injured last year. I think we are very strong and people are highly underrating this team. If we have the right approach, I think we’ll be very successful.”


Henry and chairman Tom Werner addressed the media as the team held their first full squad workout of spring training.

Both were asked about the team’s quiet offseason in the personnel department, but Henry noted that the team made significant changes to the coaching staff. There is only one member of John Farrell’s staff, new pitching coach Dana LeVangie, still employed by the Red Sox.

“I’m just saying from my perspective at least, we’ve made a lot of changes,” Henry said. “I think our approach last year was lacking offensively and we had issues that the players have already talked about. I don’t really need to talk about it but I agree with what’s been said. I don’t agree that we haven’t really made much in the way of changes. I think these were significant changes.”

Werner said that he is “absolutely” bullish on the team’s chances in 2018, and pointed out that the Red Sox are going to have “if not the highest payroll in baseball, one of the two or three highest payrolls in baseball.”

The Sox chairman was asked about the reported tension in the clubhouse last season.

“I would actually rather win the division and have some griping in the clubhouse than have everybody have a good time and win 75 games,” Werner said. “But obviously Alex Cora brings a level of excitement and enthusiasm and a positivity that we thought was necessary, and I’m expecting that we can have fun and win the division next year.”


Werner alluded to the challenge of competing for attention in a market packed with four championship-caliber teams, but Henry was quick to state the team’s first priority.

“We really don’t need to be popular,” Henry said. “We need to win.”