Catching up with Henry, Lucchino
I went to an event tonight in which Red Sox owner John W. Henry was given a prestigious award for his active — yet understated — role in the community. There was an opportunity to talk a little baseball with not just John, but also Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino and chairman Tom Werner.
Henry on this offseason: “I think this one is a little more difficult to predict what’s going to happen in the offseason. They are all somewhat unpredictable but this one to me is a bit of a strange offseason. Attendance was down 6.5 percent league-wide. It will be interesting to see if that has any affect. Some teams, revenues actually went up. There seems to be a transitioning going on. A little less of an emphasis on free agency and a little more of an emphasis on building from within. That may be principally because the free agent classes are so thin, seemingly”
Does Henry expect the Red Sox will make a blockbuster move? Not necessarily. That said, it’s probably too early to tell, and he certainly didn’t rule anything out.
“When we went into the playoffs, we felt like we had a great three starting pitchers, which is what you need in the playoffs. We went into the playoffs expecting to go deep and we didn’t so that was a shocking surprise. I think the ninth inning of the third game sort of summed it up. The Angels played extremely well. Sooner or later they were going to beat us. I feel we had a very good team that performed through the regular season. We scored more runs than we had in a few years though everyone seemed to complain that we didn’t have enough hitting but we scored a lot of runs. Our starting pitching looks good, our bullpen looks good.
“But every team tries to improve during the offseason. I know Theo is preparing. He’s been preparing. But it won’t be easy for anyone — from the player’s side and from our side. There’s a lot of unknowns.”
Lucchino was asked if he thinks that 2010 could be the last go-around for the team that has won the World Series twice since 2004.
“We’ve been transitioning gradually,” Lucchino said. “We don’t have to do it abruptly. There’s been a gradual transition. Our roster has older, mature veterans. Younger player in their prime. Young players about to get to their prime. So I think any transition is gradual.”
But much like Henry, Lucchino doesn’t think the 2009 team needs to be blown up just because of a highly disappointing Division Series against the Angels.
“it was a bitter pill to go out that quickly,” Lucchino said. “It left a bitter taste. But now that we’ve had some time to reflect on it, it motivates us more. We always want to play in October, now we want to go deep in October.”
What type of dynamic will there be this winter?
“Every offseason has its own personality depending on economic circumstances, the quality of the class, the free agents available, the nature of the trade market and it’s too early to predict what’s going to happen in this offseason. I don’t think anyone would have predicted the offseason that unfolded last year.”
Would Lucchino like to see Jason Bay patrolling the Green Monster again in 2010?
“Very much so,” Lucchino said. “We’d love to have him back. He’s in many ways the personification of the type of player we want here.”
You can find some Tom Werner quotes in my story about Henry’s award, but I didn’t want to torture him by asking him baseball questions because he was battling a very sore throat and it was a struggle for him to speak sentences over a loud crowd during the cocktail reception.
FYI, with reports circulating this week that the Royals have been awarded the 2012 All-Star Game, all Lucchino would say is that he’s heard nothing from Major League Baseball and his only knowledge of the game being given to the Royals was through media reports. The Red Sox made a bid to get the ’12 Game in Boston, because it will be the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park.