Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, in Seattle to assess the state of his team at a time when the club is enduring its worst stretch of the season, expressed sympathy for his team's players and manager even as he declined to answer all questions about manager Bobby Valentine's job security through the remainder of the season.
Cherington told reporters, including Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal, that the Sox are not evaluating anyone -- including Valentine -- based on wins and losses, but that the manager continues to be evaluated based on what happens between now and the end of the year.
"We're both being evaluated on the work we do every day and the position we're putting our players in, the decisions we make. The wins and losses are always going to be a reflection of the talent that's on the field more than anything else. Our players know that. Bobby knows that. I certainly know that," Cherington told reporters. "After the trade, I had another conversation with [Valentine] to that effect, that was even more obvious at that point, that wins and losses is never a great way to evaluate a manager. It's always relative to the talent on the roster. But certainly, right now, that's not the right way to evaluate what's going on. It's the work that gets done. You can get the right work done every day and be mindful of how guys are being used and find out as much as we can about these guys in a safe way the rest of the year."
While those evaluations are occurring, it does not make the reality that the Sox are enduring a brutal stretch of baseball any easier to stomach. With the roster stripped to a degree by injuries and by the trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto (as well as injured outfielder Carl Crawford) to the Dodgers, Cherington suggested that the team is wearing its failures heavily, with Valentine in a particularly uncomfortable spot.
"We made a big deal because we felt like it gave us the best chance to build the next really good team," Cherington told reporters. "We’re in that painful part of the process where things aren’t going well right now. ... It's hard to watch.
"When the manager is in the middle of it every day and he's the one who has to answer the questions after the game every day, it's hard. When things aren't going well, that's hard. I feel for him. I'm sure, at times, frustration comes out. The truth is that he's working with a roster, some of which is we're finding out about guys. It's not as easy to write out the lineup as he thought it might be in spring training. That would be frustrating for anyone. Part of it is frustration boiling over when you're sort of the focal point of that and you have to answer the questions after the game. I don't know how I'd react if I was in that position. I've never done it. I can imagine it's tough."
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