8 takeaways from Crimson Sox’ end-of-season press convention

Crimson Sox

“There’s simply nothing like successful in Boston. And we have to get that again. We need to get again.”

President of the Boston Red Sox Sam Kennedy (L) and Red Sox manager Alex Cora speak to reporters during the Red Sox season-ending press conference.
Sam Kennedy and Alex Cora answered questions on the Crimson Sox’ end-of-season press convention on Monday. Jessica Rinaldi / The Boston Globe

The Crimson Sox held their annual end-of-season press convention on Monday night, with Alex Cora and group president Sam Kennedy sharing their ideas on the passing of Tim Wakefield, the seek for Boston’s new prime baseball government, and what’s shaping as much as be a busy offseason at Fenway.

Listed here are eight takeaways from Cora and Kennedy’s press convention.

Remembering Tim Wakefield 

The Crimson Sox group has been working with heavy hearts over the previous couple of days, as beloved knuckleball pitcher Tim Wakefield handed away on Sunday on the age of 57. 

A number of tributes have poured in from Wakefield’s ex-Crimson Sox teammates and different neighborhood leaders within the wake of his passing. 

On Monday, Kennedy and Cora each mirrored on Wakefield and the legacy he left each on the sector and out of doors of the sport of baseball.

“Everybody within the clubhouse, we considered Wake all day, all night time, and I bear in mind the primary time I used to be privileged to spend a big period of time with him, on a group constitution in 2002,” Kennedy recalled. He requested me all concerning the Fathers’ Day catch on the sector, and he wished to know what went into it, why we did it, the way it occurred … and it simply struck me that, boy, is that this only a common man.

“However everyone knows he was something however common. He was a Corridor of Famer, that real curiosity concerning the ballpark, the baseball group, the enterprise of baseball, the neighborhood work, what went into operating this operation, was there proper till the top.”

“We at all times discuss Corridor-of-Fame folks all through the years, proper?” Cora added. “They’re good on the sector, however they’re higher off the sector, and this man, he represented us with dignity.”

Kennedy didn’t have any particulars a couple of memorial service for Wakefield, however did acknowledge that the group hopes to try to honor Wakefield’s life and legacy in some unspecified time in the future transferring ahead.

“It’s an enormous accountability to assume by way of how you’d honor somebody like Tim Wakefield, however I feel the correct reply will come to us if we preserve the premise that will probably be as inclusive as attainable and be sure that everybody whose life was touched by this man, which is thousands and thousands of individuals, could be part of it,” Kennedy mentioned. “However we additionally need to respect the household, what they’re going by way of, so we’ll comply with the lead from Stacy, the youngsters, and those that had been closest to Tim, folks like Jason Varitek and his household.”

Search is on for Chaim Bloom’s substitute

The Crimson Sox have loads of work to do that offseason in terms of retooling a roster that has now missed the playoffs 4 instances within the final 5 seasons.

However earlier than Boston can dive headfirst into the free-agent frenzy and swing offers on the Winter Conferences, the group goes to must appoint a brand new baseball government to switch Chaim Bloom, who was fired final month. 

Kennedy acknowledged that the Crimson Sox have already began to achieve out to groups for permission to interview candidates, though formal interviews haven’t began but.

Boston plans on collaborating in an in depth seek for Bloom’s substitute, which is a departure from the 2019 offseason — when Bloom was the one candidate interviewed earlier than getting named because the group’s Chief Baseball Officer.

“It’s going to be a a lot completely different course of than the final time we made a change in management,” Kennedy mentioned. “We plan to take our time, we plan to be very deliberate, we’re going to have inside candidates, we’re going to have exterior candidates, we’re going to have a constant, strong course of that hopefully leads us to the correct individual or folks. You’d like to have readability as quickly as attainable, however we’re not going to let any timeline put constraints on the method.”

The Crimson Sox have a few inside candidates for the job, together with assistant normal managers Eddie Romero and Raquel Ferreira. However Boston has been linked to different baseball executives like Phillies GM Sam Fuld and Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen. 

“We’re in search of somebody who shares the organizational values that I feel we’ve come to be recognized for in our time right here,” Kennedy mentioned. “And on the finish of the day, that’s understanding that the requirements listed below are extremely excessive. Successful video games on the main league stage and placing your self able to be busy in October is the purpose.

“We predict that the correct management will emerge. That’s not taking any something away from folks which were right here. The group, as I mentioned a pair weeks in the past, is definitely in a extremely great place because it pertains to the longer term. We don’t have a predetermined set of {qualifications}, essentially, that we’re in search of. However we do have a focused listing of people that we predict we’ll be capable to assist get us again the place we belong within the American League East.”

Beginning pitching wanted

It ought to come as little shock what Kennedy burdened as being certainly one of Boston’s prime priorities this offseason.

“Clearly this recreation is about pitching on the finish of the day, so we have to enhance in that space,” Kennedy acknowledged. “That actually does come to thoughts and that’s a good criticism to level out. However we’ll assault all of it within the offseason.”

Though Cora burdened that the Crimson Sox pitching rotation did stabilize in some capability over the ultimate weeks of the common season, the injury was accomplished to a beleaguered bullpen that was operating on fumes over these previous few months.

Past high-end pitching expertise on the prime of the rotation, the Crimson Sox are in determined want of innings eaters. Bryan Bello was the lone Crimson Sox pitcher to document not less than 150 innings pitched in the course of the 2023 season.

“We made some strides within the final month, Kutter [Crawford] threw the ball properly, you noticed what occurred yesterday with Tanner [Houck], Chris [Sale] is wholesome, he made strides towards the top. … I agree with Sam and I agree with the group. To win championships, you need to pitch, and we haven’t been in a position to get to that time. I feel the final time we had a wholesome rotation was in ‘21, you noticed what occurred …. and the opposite time we had been wholesome was 2018.

“In order that’s one thing the group is aware of, possibly we now have to make changes so far as the issues we do making ready them, their offseason work and a few of that, however for now, you see the expertise. Whoever’s operating the group goes to resolve which route we’re going to go, however we now have to pitch higher.”

Cora stresses that he’s not going to the entrance workplace

Because the Crimson Sox start their seek for Bloom’s substitute, Cora burdened as soon as once more that he has no real interest in taking a web page out of Brad Stevens’ e book and shifting into a task as a group government following a profitable teaching profession.

“I’m not ready to do this,” Cora mentioned. “I really feel just like the influence that I could make right here on this group within the coming years, it’ll be within the dugout. That’s the way in which I see it. They know. It’s not a straightforward job, simply because you understand baseball and easy methods to discuss baseball doesn’t imply that you simply’re ready to run a corporation. There’s greater than that.”

Kennedy doesn’t imagine GM candidates can be cautious of front-office turnover 

Following Bloom’s firing, the Crimson Sox are on the prowl for his or her fifth baseball government for the reason that 2011 season.

Regardless of the status of the Crimson Sox group and the success that has been achieved since 2011 (two World Sequence titles), Boston has not precisely given its prime execs an extended shelf life when the outcomes don’t current themselves.

After Theo Epstein left the group following the 2011 season, Ben Cherington, Dave Dombrowski and Bloom didn’t maintain their titles in Boston for not less than 4 full seasons.

Provided that turnover and the stress that comes with the gig, does Kennedy assume which may make some candidates cautious of becoming a member of Boston?

“I perceive that, and that’s a good query, however on the finish of the day, that is the Boston Crimson Sox. If you wish to run a baseball group, that is the place you need to be. You need to be in Boston. Why? As a result of it issues right here greater than wherever else. In case you’re not up for that problem? Thanks, however no thanks.”

Are the Crimson Sox set to spend?

In fact, the best manner for the Crimson Sox to right away bolster their roster is by signing a confirmed stater (or two) to anchor on the prime of their rotation.

Boston ranked thirteenth in payroll this season at simply over $181 million, with the aggressive steadiness tax threshold set at $233 million.

Though Kennedy didn’t outright say that Boston will escape the checkbook this winter, he did supply this up.

“We’ve had years the place we’ve been over the CBT threshold,” Kennedy mentioned. “We’ve had years the place we’ve been beneath. The assets have been there. The place we now have fallen quick generally is within the allocation of these assets, and that’s on us to repair. However the assets for us to spend have been there since 2002.”

As for the probabilities of the Crimson Sox being within the operating for Shohei Ohtani?

“We’re not gonna get into particular participant strikes or something that would get us in bother,” Kennedy mentioned. “However I’ll inform you, there’s an incredible group of males, girls, people in our baseball operations division which might be throwing each thought on the market that you would presumably think about, turning over each rock. That’s when the Crimson Sox have been at their finest, is form of the “no unhealthy concepts” zone that we function in. So we’ll contemplate something and all the pieces to enhance for the quick time period and for the long run.

“I need to make that clear. There’s a want to compete. You’ve heard us say it and generally these phrases ring hole whenever you’ve had two very disappointing seasons. However there’s simply nothing like successful in Boston. And we have to get that again. We need to get again.”

Any adjustments to the teaching workers?

After a season the place the Crimson Sox dedicated the second-most errors in baseball (102), the case may very well be made that the remainder of Cora’s teaching workers is due for an overhaul this winter.

However Cora appeared to notice on Monday that adjustments should not coming for his workers, with conferences set to happen this week between him, his fellow coaches and Boston’s prime brass.

” Ws as a training workers, we bought to get higher,” Cora mentioned. “We bought to push these guys to be lots higher and it’s on us to do that within the offseason. Try this in spring coaching and do it all through the season subsequent 12 months. That’s my problem this 12 months. Me and the teaching workers, we now have to be higher.”

Crimson Sox attendance replace

Based on Main League Baseball, regular-season attendance in the course of the 2023 marketing campaign noticed a 9.6 % enhance from final 12 months — with paid attendance reaching the 70 million mark for the primary time since 2017. 

However the Crimson Sox — within the midst of a last-place end — solely noticed slight good points in fan turnout in the course of the 2023 season.

The Crimson Sox’ total attendance in 2023 was 2,672,130, a small bump from final 12 months’s 2,625,089. Nonetheless, Kennedy considered these returns as a optimistic end result, given Boston’s struggles within the standings.

“We really are extremely appreciative of the fan assist that we now have this 12 months,” Kennedy mentioned. “Our attendance was barely up, which is considerably outstanding should you contemplate coming off of a last-place end in 2022, and clearly, we all know the place we’re in 2023.”

A return to relevancy and rivalry stands as the best avenue for the Crimson Sox to keep away from seeing attendance numbers stagnate in 2024.

“Entertaining baseball is successful baseball,” Kennedy mentioned. “I don’t care what anyone says. … In case you win, someway magically folks say ‘This group is likable’ or ‘this group’s entertaining.’ I feel that’s nonsense. Successful baseball is what issues. That’s what entertains folks. We all know that.”

Kennedy additionally acknowledged that the Crimson Sox will increase ticket costs at Fenway Park for the brand new season.

“We’ve had a really modest and low-single-digit enhance on season-ticket costs,” Kennedy mentioned.