Red Sox president Sam Kennedy joined the Ordway, Merloni & Fauria show on Wednesday to discuss David Price’s pitching struggles and other team news. To hear the interview, visit the OM&F audio on demand page.
Price, the 30-year-old former Cy Young winner who signed a seven year, $217 million deal with the Red Sox this offseason, has not yet lived up to those expectations, totaling a 9-7 record and 4.51 ERA and allowing the most hits in the American League. Despite this struggle, Kennedy has been impressed with Price’s accountability and says he believes the lefty will make the adjustment and turn his season around.
“As an organization, when you give out a contract like this you have a certain level of expectations,” Kennedy said. “When you fall short of expectations it’s disappointing for everybody. One of the things I love about David Price is just how accountable he is, and I know you can say, ‘Look, we’re tired of hearing I’ve got to do better, I’ve got to be better,’ but that’s him. He owns it, he’s knows he’s not performing at the level that we all expect him to perform at. We truly feel that he’s going to get better.
Added Kennedy: “If you look back to 2006 when Josh Beckett came in and he had that ERA over 5.00 and he really struggled in that first year with us, then helped march us to a World Series in 2007. I think there is an adjustment period, this is not an easy place to play, it’s a difficult market, and it’s hard. … I really do think he’ll get better, and we expect a lot out of David Price, obviously the commitment that we made. He’s been accountable, we own it, and let’s hope that he turns things around here.”
Kennedy added that plenty of stars go through tough periods in their careers, including a former Boston ace who is now in the Hall of Fame.
“I remember when Pedro [Martinez], maybe the greatest right-handed pitcher on the planet, went through periods where he struggled in the first inning and second inning,” Kennedy recalled. “I remember sitting around the office and saying ‘Boy, if we could start the game in the third inning, Pedro would throw a no-hitter every single day.’ He went through difficult periods, it’s hard. This game can be so confounding. You look at what [White Sox pitcher] James Shields has done the last four or five outings, the guy’s got like a 1.70 ERA and he had like an 11.00 ERA. This sport is harder than any other sport. … It really is difficult, and we don’t have all the answers, we work hard to try and put as much of an effort forward to put these players in a position to succeed. When they don’t, we own that, that’s on us, and we need to do everything we can to get better, and I can tell you we’re working hard to do that.”
Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Red Sox news, check out the team page at weei.com/redsox.
On Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and the moves that he has made: “When we were talking to Dave about joining the organization back last August, just about a year ago, one of the things he was focused on was just how great a job our scouting and player development has done. … To compete at the major league level, you’ve got to be able to part with assets from your minor league system, you’ve got to be able to play in free agency, you’ve got to be able to scout, draft, develop well. We’ve been able to do that, and he’s come into an organization with incredible talent, young talent, veteran players, and we do have pieces in the minor leagues, and if you make the right moves and convert those into major league pieces, hopefully that’s a recipe for success. So this was a very attractive situation for Dave Dombrowski to come into, and he’s done so far a great job at making moves and we’ll see what happen. Six days left, lets see how this plays out, because the market can change right up until the last minute. There’s only a few teams really that are ‘sellers.’ With the addition to the second wild card, sometimes it goes to the last minute with the trade deadline. I think it could be a very interesting five or six days coming up.”
On what the players need to do mentally to prepare for the upcoming stretch of road games: “That’s up to the staff. … These guys have a really, really tough job to prepare our guys to play night in and night out. … Earl Weaver used to talk about deep depth. You cannot win a World Series championship without deep depth. You have to have 35, 40 guys that you rely on coming up from Triple-A, maybe Double-A to help out. It’s really hard, 162 games in 180 days, it’s a grind, and managing all of those moves is really difficult. That’s what we’ve been able to do here at the Red Sox in our 15 years. We’ve had three World Series championships and we’ve had a lot of postseason appearances, and every time we’ve had success and gotten it done, it’s because we’ve had contributions from all over the organization. Not just the major league level, but minor leaguers coming up to help out and spell guys and good trades at the right moment. It’s a challenge, we love it, we absolutely love it. This is what you want, we are in a position 100 games in to go for it and make a run for a World Series championship. We’re excited, and we recognize that things could be a little bit better. … Our job is to take a step back and have some perspective about just how great the position that we’re in right now. It’s exciting, this is what you want to do in Boston and Major League Baseball.”
On the balance of winning baseball games and creating business after the Chris Sale scandal: “It’s communication, it always is. We had an example like this in spring training, Dave Dombrowski and I sat down with David Ortiz and members of the team and said, ‘Look, we’re here to win a championship this year, it’s David’s last year, we want to appropriately celebrate him, but make sure we don’t lose sight on winning.’ We want to win baseball games, that is the priority, and that takes precedent. That’s what we’re all about, and that’s what we do. But it’s communication with the players. You see Dave in the clubhouse all the time, you see [general manager] Mike Hazen down there, they need to know what’s going on. Yes, we do need to do things to market the game and generate revenues and all of that, but all of that is done so we can win baseball games, that’s why we’re there.”