Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning to discuss the team's offseason.
The Blue Jays and Marlins reportedly have agreed to a trade in which Miami will send a number of talented, high-priced players to Toronto. Cherington said the enormity of the deal surprised even him. He also implied that the deal would not have been the right fit for the Red Sox with the team's new approach.
"We had conversation with several teams, including the Marlins," Cherington said. "So, you're not completely surprised when you hear some names being discussed or some names being traded. But the scope of that deal, if it does happen, is certainly bigger than we were expecting.
"As far as we're concerned, we have sort of standards and we have the limits to what we'll do in a trade or free agency. We've got to try to stick to that and believe and have faith in our process. And that over time the best way to build a team that our fans deserve is through getting the right veterans here, being disciplined and getting the right veterans here through free agency or trades and continuing to develop from within."
Cherington implied that the Jays are making a short-term attempt to contend while the Red Sox have a broader goal.
"If it happens, Toronto's improved themselves in 2013," Cherington said. "I don't think it changes what we do. We're trying to build the right team for Boston -- not just better in 2013, but gives us a chance to be really good for a long time. So, it doesn't change us from that perspective. But no doubt, if the trade goes through, at least on paper, in November, Toronto is improved."
Added Cherington: "It's a recognition on their part that they see an opportunity in the division, a moment in time where they can take a shot, and they feel like they have a window where they can jump in and make a dent in the division and they can make a go for it. I'm sure there's a lot of talk between their baseball side and business side as to when is the right time to do that, is this the right time to take the plunge? They felt it was. Again, if the trade goes through, then you have to respect them for being willing to take that risk and recognizing that this is the time to do it."
Asked about the team's expected payroll, Cherington said it's difficult to predict. But he indicated the team plans to spend money after shedding some big contracts in the midseason trade with the Dodgers.
"I know that we'll have a very strong payroll, a large payroll," he said. "I know that we're going to add to it this winter. I'm confident in saying that it will be amongst the larger payrolls in the game. … It depends on what we do. We're not going to shoot for an arbitrary payroll number just to say that we're going to get to this. We just have to look at each opportunity as it comes and figure out, is this the right thing for the Red Sox?"
The most high-profile free agent this offseason is Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton. Cherington acknowledged speaking with the player's agent, but he said that doesn't mean the Red Sox will make a run at him.
"We have already [had a discussion]," Cherington said. "By this time in the offseason we've talked to most teams, we've talked to just about every agent and just about every prominent free agent. That's just part of our job, is to do that due diligence and meet with guys. That doesn't mean anything, other than we've met with several agents of all the higher-profile or prominent [free agents], and some lesser, lower-profile free agents. So, it's just really part of due diligence, trying to find out, get more information as to what guys are looking for and how it might fit in to what we're doing. Now is the time that we try to hone in on the guys that make the most sense for us."
Asked if Hamilton would be a fit for the Sox, Cherington said: "We'll see. I respect the talent, certainly. He's been one of the more productive players in baseball. Beyond that, we've got to look at what alternatives we have. We're know we're going to add to the outfield somehow. We're going to do it in a way that we feel makes the most sense for us -- and not just in 2013 but moving forward."