With the topic of Stephen Drew on the table, Cherington was asked at what point it was too late to bring a new name in. Cherington answered:
“We have a handful of players we believe in, who we believe are going to be good major league players. And, of course, when they are unproven on the major league level, there is a fair question of transition or whether there is any sort of a learning curve that needs to take place. That said, there is a value to committing to them.”
The players in question are Xander Bogaerts, who will either start the season at short or third base depending on whatever final status Drew, his agent Scott Boras, and either the Red Sox or any other team can agree too.
The other player is Jackie Bradley Jr., the presumptive opening day center fielder against the Baltimore Orioles March 31.
Reading through the tea leaves, one gets the sense that Boston is quite happy with the way their infield is set right now. If Drew comes back, it certainly will not be a multi-year deal or one he could have had if he took the qualifying offer of one-year, $14.1 million that was on the table after the World Series.
When asked about Masahiro Tanaka, the wunderkind pitcher coming over from Japan, Cherington said that he had talked with Tanaka’s agent Casey Close about where the Red Sox stand, but Cherington went no further other than discussing Tanaka as a high-quality prospect.
Cherington also discussed that the team and slugger David Ortiz have started to discuss a contract extension for 2015 and after, but no serious discussions will happen before Spring Training. On a side note, Cherington was not asked about, or offer anything voluntarily in regards to extending Jon Lester, who also could be a free agent after this season.
One gets the sense—the full audio is posted below—that Cherington and the rest of the Red Sox front office is waiting for the Stephen Drew situation to have final resolution. Once the Red Sox know how close they are to the luxury tax threshold, then they can decide if they want to move a veteran pitcher such as Ryan Dempster or Jake Peavy for some breathing room or offer a big package with John Lackey in order to land a big outfield bat like Matt Kemp or Giancarlo Stanton.
The main message to take away, however, is that the Red Sox are fine with the roster they have right now. Something the rest of the American League can take little solace in.