A few things that stood out today:
• It seemed odd that John Henry and Tom Werner were not there. Hiring a new GM is a significant move for any organization and Henry needed to be there to demonstrate his faith in Ben Cherington.
Perhaps Henry made that clear to Cherington 10 days ago when he gave him the job. But given the public perception of the team these days, Henry should have been there.
Larry Lucchino said Henry couldn’t adjust his schedule. But this press conference was scheduled four days ago. If assorted dope sportswriters could figure out how to leave the World Series and get to Fenway Park, John Henry could have been there.
In the last 26 days, the Red Sox have parted ways with their most successful manager and general manager ever and hired a new GM and Henry has only answered questions from radio talk-show hosts. Red Sox fans deserve more than that.
• Cherington wants to keep David Ortiz and Jonathan Papelbon, saying the Red Sox would be a better team if they stayed. He seemed optimistic regarding Ortiz, less so with Papelbon.
Cherington did not discount the idea of Ortiz signing during the team’s five-day period of exclusivity after the World Series. But he expects Papelbon to test the market.
• Cherington didn’t say the Red Sox would pick up their $6 million option on Marco Scutaro. But he gave every indication that would happen. Scutaro hit .299 with a .358 OBP this season.
• Got the idea that Cherington likes the thought of using Alfredo Aceves as a starter and is less enthused about Daniel Bard. If Papelbon leaves, making Bard the closer makes perfect sense.
• Cherington said that he believes those players who were drinking in the clubhouse should be accountable for their actions — specifically Josh Beckett.
“If I was a fan and I wasn’t in this job, I would be upset at the way this season ended and I would expect that there would be some action taken to address those issues moving forward. Part of that can be players talking [to the media] and some of them already have. I’m sure Josh will talk at some point,” he said. “Players are hurt by this, too.”
• Cherington threw his support to Carl Crawford and said he planned to visit with him this winter in Houston.
“This guy is a huge part of our team,” Cherington said. “As much as he struggled and had a hard time dealing with the fact that he didn’t perform to his customary level, I have a lot of respect for this guy. The way he he handled it, it would have been easy to run away from it more than he did. Because of that, and his talent, I’d bet on this guy moving forward.”
Given Henry’s comment that he never wanted Crawford in the first place, it was slick of Cherington to work that in.
• You can spent hours parsing the words of the Machiavellian Lucchino. But it was interesting to hear him praise Cherington as a team player and somebody who didn’t seek the spotlight. Shots, perhaps, at a certain former GM?
• Cherington’s initial remarks were done without notes and he clearly spoke from the heart and with passion. He also was honest in his assessment of various problems (“Not very good,” he said of the team’s track record with free agents, for instance) and didn’t duck for cover on any questions. Fans will appreciate that style.
• It’s really this simple: Cherington will be a successful GM if he ferrets out the right man to be the next manager. Somewhere out there is the right person to tie up all the loose strings and get the Red Sox pointed in the right direction on the field in 2012.
Find that man and a lot of the problems will melt away.