The always opinionated Matt Strahm kicks off postseason
There were some more powerful words in tribute of Tim Wakefield.
There were the continued proclamations that the Red Sox need to be better.
There was the update that the organization wasn't going to rush into finding its next chief decision-maker.
But - besides continuing to lift up the memory of Wakefield - the one takeaway from 55 minute and the approximate 6,000 words was this: We are at a crossroads for these Red Sox.
Another last-place finish. Another hire to run baseball operations. A manager heading into the final year of his contract.
All this while living in the shadow of baseball's excitement regarding another postseason. There were no news-making announcements, or definitive dives into the deep end. But there was an underlying tone that suggested everyone understands we are coming up on another pivotal moment in the Sox's attempt at fending off fan apathy.
So here are the 10 most important quotes from what served as the Red Sox' launching pad for his all-important offseason:
NO RUSH TO FIND A NEW BASEBALL OPERATIONS BOSS
Sam Kennedy: The search for the next leadership within baseball operations has begun. I want to make sure everyone understands that this is going to be a much different process than the last time we had a change of leadership. And what I mean by that is we plan to take our time, plan to be very deliberate. We're going to have internal candidates. We're going to have external candidates. We're going to have a consistent, robust process that hopefully leads us to the right person or people. We've started, we've been underway since announcing the change, and we don't have any set deadline or timeframe. We're going to go through this process this offseason and we'll have an announcement when it's appropriate."
WHAT THEY ARE LOOKING FOR IN THE NEW HIRE
Kennedy: We're looking for someone who shares the organizational values that I think we've been come to be known for in our time here. At the end of the day, that's understanding that the standards here are incredibly high and winning games at the major League level, putting yourself in a position to be busy in October is the goal. That said, we think that you can also build a sustainable organization at the minor league level. At the same time. It's hard. It's difficult. Sometimes those two things are in conflict with each other, but we think that the right leadership will emerge. And that's not taking anything away from people that have been here. The organization, as I said a couple of weeks ago, is actually in a really good spot as it relates to the future. So, look, we don't have a predetermined set of qualifications necessarily that we're looking for, but we do have a targeted list of individuals that we think will be able to help get us get us back where we belong in the American League East.
THEY HAVEN'T INTERVIEWED ANYONE YET
Kennedy: No formal interviews have been conducted, but we’ve had conversations internally, and we've had conversations externally, being respectful of clubs and Major League Baseball rules and teams that are still playing. We have to make sure we navigate all that over the next several weeks.
ALEX CORA WILL BE PART OF THE HIRING PROCESS
Kennedy: It's hugely important to have your existing leadership on board. This is a team effort, right? So whether it's Alex, whether it's Raquel (Fereira), BOH (Brian O'Halloran, Eddie (Romero), the whole staff, ownership. It's a team effort. I think we tend to focus on individuals in our sport as we should. But it's a team effort. So there'll be lots of different voices, but at the end of the day, this is a decision that that I'll make along with ownership ultimately having the final approval.
THERE WILL BE NO REVEALING OF PLAN FOR PAYROLL
Kennedy: I’m also going to be consistent that we definitely aren't going to talk about our plans for Major League payroll. I don't know why other clubs do that. But we do not want to tip our hand to our competitors and talk about major league payroll. It's just not something that we've done. Obviously at the end of the day, we all know what the payroll was for the prior year. But we've had an amazing amount of flexibility going all the way back to 2002 where we've had best laid plans in the beginning of the year and those have changed sometimes midseason. So we have a lot of flexibility around here.
CORA DOESN'T WANT TO MOVE UP TO THE FRONT OFFICE
Cora: No, no, we talked about it last week. I was very honest with them. I'm not prepared to do that. I feel like the impact that I can make here in this organization in the upcoming years, it'll be in the dugout, that's the way I see it. They know. It's not an easy job. Because you know baseball and you know how to talk baseball doesn't mean that you're prepared to run an organization. There's more than that and I'm very comfortable doing what I'm doing. I trust the people that we have around right now. BOH, Eddie, Group. Raquel, Ben, everybody that is working here, I trust them. They know what they're doing. I know they trust me. And now it's just a matter of you know, putting everything together. Like I said yesterday, you know, this is not acceptable the last two years, regardless of if we were playing with young kids or veterans, it doesn't matter. We got to find a way to win more games and then the last two years and our goal is to play in October and win the World Series. That's our goal. So I'm comfortable where we are family wise, we like where we’re at. We have goals and stuff like that but not right now, this is it.
CORA EXPECTS HIS VOICE WILL CONTINUE TO BE HEARD
Cora: Since 2018, with Dave (Dombrowski), Chaim (Bloom) and the group, they always listen to me. You know, we talk about what's needed, and it's a collaboration, teamwork, like Sam said. So since ’18, my basebal knowledge and what I think the roster can be or what we need to do is always, you know, on the table, they listen to it, and then we make decisions as a group.
THEY WEREN'T TOUCHING THE SHOHEI OHTANI QUESTION
Kennedy: We're not going to get into specific player moves or anything that could get us in trouble. But I'll tell you. There's an amazing group of men, women, individuals in our baseball operations department who are throwing every idea out there that you could possibly imagine, turning over every rock. That's when the Red Sox have been at their best, is the no-bad-ideas zone that we operate in. We'll consider anything and everything to improve, for the short term and for the long term. I want to make that clear. There's a desire to compete. You've heard of us say it, and sometimes those words ring hollow when you've had two very disappointing seasons, but there's just nothing like winning in Boston. We need to get that back. AC said it the other day, forget the championships of the past, we need to focus on what's in front of us and get that feeling. We want that winning feeling and our fans deserve that.
THEY BELIEVE THIS IS A DESIRABLE JOB
Kennedy: At the end of the day, I understand that and it’s a fair question. This is the Boston Red Sox. If you want to run a baseball organization, this is where you want to be. You want to be in Boston. Why? Because it matters here more than anywhere else. So, if you’re not up for that challenge, thanks but no thanks.
TICKET PRICES WILL BE GOING UP
Kennedy: So, we’ve had a very modest, low single-digit increase on season-ticket prices. And then we price the rest of our ticket inventory dynamically, prices change based upon market conditions over the course of the year, so we don’t have set prices as we enter the year other than the season ticket packages.
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