Appearing with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning, the morning after the Red Sox moved over .500 for the first time this season, team president and CEO Larry Lucchino talked about the club's recent improvement, Bobby Valentine's coaching approach, and why the team elected not to sign Roy Oswalt.
Lucchino also extended an invitation to Dennis & Callahan's own Jon Meterparel to handle Fenway Park PA announcer duties Thursday and become a candidate to replace the late Carl Beane.
Boston, which has been struggling throughout the young season, is last in the AL East with a 25-24 record. But after beating Detroit on Tuesday night, the Red Sox are over .500 and only 3 1/2 games of first place.
"To finally get over .500 is something we should celebrate," he said. "I'm really pleased with the way the team is coming together."
Lucchino said the Red Sox might still encounter some difficulties as the season progresses, but the team's solidifying identity is a positive that will carry over.
"There will be some ebbs and flows during the remainder of this season, but the good thing is the team has kind of come together," Lucchino said. "I think there's an identity forming, some of the lesser-known players are making a real contribution keeping this team at around .500. That's where we want it to be until the cavalry comes over the horizon in the persons of [Jacoby] Ellsbury and Crawford and [Andrew] Bailey and ... Daisuke [Matsuzaka], of course."
Valentine has survived the struggles and the transition period thanks in part to a winning drive, Lucchino said. That allowed him to overcome being the scapegoat for the team's slow start.
"I thought he was a convenient symbol for people," Lucchino said of criticism of the new manager. "I didn't think it was certainly fair to focus on him. I thought that people who were upset had legitimate grievances with the performance of the club and the finish last year, and the manager was kind of a figurehead person or symbol that people could focus on.
"But I think he's done an exceptional job, with the series of injuries he's had to deal with, the restructuring of the bullpen he's had to do. And a number of the calls he's made have proven to be really insightful and very helpful to the club sustaining itself around a .500 record so far."
Added Lucchino: "It's undeniable that he plays every game to win. There's this commercial that NESN has: 'Every game matters. Every pitch matters. Every out matters.' He plays it like that. There's an intensity that I like. In the fifth inning he's pitching lefty, righty, lefty to get the matchup he wants. And I think that's the way to do it, particularly in this day and age when with the wild card system that we have, one game will make a difference, two games can make a difference. Last year one game made a difference in the final standings and that's been true for the last few years."
Following are more highlights from the interview.
On the team's decision to pass on Roy Oswalt: "It wasn't as though we were starting pitching short. We think that in a week or two we're going to have seven possibilities [with the return of Matsuzaka and Aaron Cook]. So, do you spend an extra six or seven million dollars to secure a guy when you've got that kind of pitching need and you may need that money come July 31st?"
On why the productive Daniel Nava should sit when Carl Crawford returns: "If [Nava] can sustain what he's doing, he's going to make some real money over the course of the year, but he's not yet a firmly established major league outfielder. But he's been an invaluable part of the first part of the season for the team. As I said, he's one of my favorite stories. But Crawford is somebody who has an established major league track record and we're eager to get him back in there and I think he's got something to prove. It appears that he feels more comfortable with his surroundings, his teammates. I know he's champing at the bit [and] just can't wait to get in there. And it's not that Daniel Nava doesn't play, it means that there will be some time-sharing I suppose among the outfielders given the number of injured outfielders we have."
Rick joined the show to discuss the impending release of Revis from the Buccaneers. He said that Revis is far superior to Aqib Talib both on the field and off.
The Boston Herald's Ron Borges joined the show to discuss his column in today's paper on Vince Wilfork. He thinks the Pats should keep Vince.
Boston Globe Patriots writer Ben Volin joined the show with the latest on the offseason. He said it is most likely that Julian Edelman returns next season due to his agent's relationship with the team.
Jackie MacMullan of ESPN joins Mut and Lou to discuss the future of the struggling Celtics as well as the rocky relationship between Danny Ainge, Brad Stevens and Rajon Rondo
ESPN NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy joined Dennis & Callahan to talk about Rajon Rondo's birthday mishap.
Jackie MacMullan joins Mut and Merloni to discuss Rajon Rondo's unexcused absence from the Celtics game in Sacramento and how the organization feels about Brad Stevens.
Mikey and Ryder talk with Hall of Fame baseball player and current analyst/broadcaster Dennis Eckersley. Eck gives all kinds of insight into the Red Sox current pitching staff and how valuable a reliable bullpen can be. He also talks about how the game has changed since his playing days.
In 2013, Jackie Bradley Jr. used a non-roster invitation to big league spring training as a platform to an unexpected major league performance. Yet by and large, prospects in big league camp for the first time have more modest goals of creating familiarity -- both on their part with the big league setting, and in an effort to try to impress the big league coaching staff to position themselves for in-season call-ups. Red Sox prospects Garin Cecchini, Matt Barnes, Anthony Ranaudo and Bryce Brentz discuss their outlook on their first big league camps, while Bradley joins to explain the difference he feels this year in his second big league camp.
Red Sox NESN color man Jerry Remy joined Dennis & Callahan to discuss his first broadcast since his sons arrest last October.
LB gives his thoughts on the Bruins
Pierre McGuire, NBC Sports, joins the Mut and Merloni show to share his thoughts on the recent trade moves the Bruin's made on deadline day.
Andy Brickley of NESN joins the Mut and Merloni show to share his thoughts on what trade moves the Bruins might make, if any, as the trade deadline approaches.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane. Today the guys discussed a newly released Johnny Carson sex tape.
The guys opened the show by discussing the possibility of Darrelle Revis coming to New England. Gerry is all in for it.
Hall of Famer, Ozzie Smith, shares his thoughts on Barry Bonds getting into the Hall of Fame. Also, Red Sox and making Opening Day a national holiday.
Chris Price of WEEI.com joins the show to discuss NFL free agency and potential moves for the Patriots.
Dale Arnold and MIchael Holley discuss the start of free agency, the plethora of names out there, and what the Patriots will ultimately decide to do.
Dale and Micheal discuss the Sox line-up, how it's not the same without Ellsbury to kick it off, and who will replace Ells in that lead-off spot.
We knock out the hottest topics of the day on the blitz. Today featuring Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe and Christopher Price of WEEI.com
Mikey, Lenny and Bill Fairweather are joined by the legendary Bob Lobel, who talks about his career in Boston, his thoughts on some of the goings on, and some great sports talk.
Mikey, Ryder and Lenny talk with Mikey's buddy, former Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee. Bill talks about bad neighbors, his playing days with the Sox and beyond.
In 2013, Xander Bogaerts reached the big leagues in August and had a transformative impact on the Red Sox' pursuit of a World Series. Bogaerts discusses how that development, in turn, proved transformative for his life on and off the field. Looking ahead, Garin Cecchini might be the prospect most likely to have a Bogaerts-like impact on the Red Sox' fortunes in 2014. The third base prospect joins the podcast to discuss his player development and outlook for the coming season.More from this show
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane. The guys discussed Dennis Rodman's bizarre comments to ESPN over the weekend.More from this show