Cherington introduced as Red Sox general manager

Boston Red Sox new general manager Ben Cherington shakes hands with team president Larry Lucchino during a news conference at Fenway Park in Boston, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011.
Charles Krupa | AP
Boston Red Sox new general manager Ben Cherington shakes hands with team president Larry Lucchino during a news conference at Fenway Park in Boston, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011.
Posted Oct. 25, 2011, at 8:42 p.m.
Last modified Oct. 25, 2011, at 10:05 p.m.

BOSTON — Ben Cherington was introduced Tuesday as the general manager of the Boston Red Sox after spending three seasons as Theo Epstein’s assistant.

Cherington appeared at a news conference three hours after another one in Chicago at which the Cubs introduced Epstein as their president of baseball operations.

Cherington’s top priorities will be finding a manager to replace Terry Francona, who left two days after the Red Sox completed a September collapse that left them out of the playoffs. Cherington also must decide whether to try to retain designated hitter David Ortiz and closer Jonathan Papelbon, who can become free agents.

And he will be working on obtaining compensation from the Cubs for hiring Epstein with one year left on his Red Sox contract.

Cherington said he would deal with Epstein on that issue and that the teams agreed that “significant” compensation would be given.

He also expressed a desire to re-sign Ortiz and Papelbon and already has had some discussions about that.

Cherington, 37, joined the Red Sox in 1999 as a mid-Atlantic scout and held several other jobs in the organization before becoming assistant general manager on Jan. 12, 2009.

Epstein left after nine years as general manager.

“I think Theo will tell you, there comes time for a change,” Cherington said. “It’s my job as part of that change to maintain what we’re good at, and also serve as a catalyst for the change that we need, because what’s going to work moving forward is not necessarily what’s worked in the past.

“It’s my job to manage this transition and, really, the job of baseball operations and the organization to move forward and identify the things that we need to do different to have the kind of success that the Red Sox fans deserve and our ownership deserves.”

The Red Sox went 7-20 in September after starting the month in first place in the AL East and with a nine-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays for a wild-card berth. The Rays won it on the last day of the regular season.

Afterward, there was a report in the Boston Globe that starting pitchers Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and John Lackey drank beer and ate fried chicken in the clubhouse during games in which they didn’t pitch.

“We have work to do this offseason to restore the culture that we expect in the clubhouse, to restore the level of accountability,” Cherington said. “I don’t believe that there’s a silver bullet that will be the answer to that. It’s multi-factorial.”

Red Sox president Larry Lucchino praised Cherington as “the ultimate team player, and his hunger for the future success of the Boston Red Sox is second to none.

“In his quiet way, eschewing the spotlight and the accolades, Ben and the Red Sox organization are inextricably intertwined. I cannot at this point in Red Sox history imagine Ben with any other organization and I have trouble imagining the Red Sox without Ben Cherington.”

Cherington said he wanted his next manager to be “someone who cares about players but is also willing and ready to have tough conversations with them.”

He said he would move “swiftly and diligently and we’ll be methodical in our search. (Francona) wasn’t hired until after Thanksgiving (in 2004).”

He also said the Red Sox had assembled “a short list” of candidates and would begin interviews soon.

 

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