Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino talked with the media (including WEEI.com's Alex Speier) today about a number of topics, with the focus on how the franchise had adjusted in the wake of its disappointing 2012 season. Lucchino declared that the Red Sox were underdogs going into 2013, with the Blue Jays lined up as the new favorites in the AL East. Some of the highlights of Lucchino's talk....
- Management is as willing as ever to spend to make the Sox competitive. Lucchino pointed to the team's track record over the last 11 years of spending in all facets of the baseball operations as evidence that "we are in it to win."
- In part due to its recent unsuccessful forays into the free agent market, the Red Sox will have a renewed focus on developing homegrown prospects. Lucchino is excited about this development: "...most organizations tend to overvalue their own prospects, and you’ve got to be very diligent about making sure that your assessments are realistic. But I do think there are some talented young players who are going to have an impact. Some may even have an impact, I think, this year.”
- As noted earlier today, Lucchino is open to signing Jacoby Ellsbury to a long-term contract and the outfielder is similarly interested in working out an extension.
- The Red Sox only managed a .315 team OBP in 2012, which both owner John Henry and Lucchino noted ran counter to the club's franchise-wide philosophy. "We used to have incentives in contracts relating to on-base percentage to show you how important we thought it was. I think there was kind of a deviation from that, somewhere along the way," Lucchino said. "I think it kind of grew gradually, and if you’re not ever-vigilant, that can happen to the organization...Perception that everybody now gets it, everybody now understands it, and don’t we have to look for some new metric or approach? And we in some ways outsmarted ourselves.”
- Lucchino admitted he had hoped the Red Sox would re-sign outfielder Cody Ross (who left Boston to sign a free agent contract with the Diamondbacks this offseason) but likes the other new outfielders in the fold, such as Jonny Gomes.