Boston Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said Thursday the club will be looking at some "bold" options as the July 31 trade deadline approaches, reiterating the pledge he made to season-ticket holders in an All-Star break email.
"I think that (general manager) Ben (Cherington) feels empowered to do it, I think he has the capacity to do it, when he took the job and in fact since then we have talked frequently about boldness," Lucchino said in an interview Thursday on Boston sports radio station WEEI. "You've got to know when to be bold and when to be somewhat conservative and methodical.
"This is a club (that) has been built on bold moves over the years, going way back to the Nomar Garciaparra trade in '04 as one example. There should be no doubt in anyone's mind that Ben Cherington and the entire baseball operations department, and to extent John (Henry), Tom (Werner) and I, are all pointed toward working hard to July 31."
Just as he did in the email to season-ticket holders, Luchhino said Thursday he wasn't making any promises that a big move was in the offing, just that the team was exploring every avenue.
"Just look at our track record. For years, we've tried to do things at the deadline when we are in the hunt, and we certainly feel we are in the hunt," Lucchino said. "We'll do what we can. That doesn't guarantee (anything). It's not a supermarket you can walk into and say, 'I'll take one of these and one of these.' You've got to find a willing partner to work with, and there's got to be a fit. But are we exploring that avenue? Absolutely."
One rumored move that would fit under the bold heading would be to trade Carl Crawford, a possibility brought up in various reports Wednesday but one quickly shot down, both by the team and sources around baseball.
Lucchino was asked about the rumor, which had the Red Sox and Miami Marlins discussing a deal to send Crawford to the Marlins in exchange for shortstop Hanley Ramirez and reliever Heath Bell. Lucchino, too, dismissed it, though he did confirm it was brought up with Cherington.
"(Marlins assistant GM) Dan Jennings, the guy from the Marlins front office who drafted Carl Crawford, he's been up in Boston scouting, presumably Carl Crawford and others, when Ben let us know about that there had been an inquiry," Lucchino said on WEEI. "And given the encouragement that we offer regarding being bold I'm sure he said, 'What do you guys have in mind? What are you talking about?' That's just par for the course this time of year. You explore all the possibilities, big ones, bold ones, small ones, incremental ones, whatever you can do."
"There's enormous respect for Jon Lester and the contributions he's made to this team over the years and a lot of expectation he's going to get it right again," Lucchino said. "Very few pitchers can go through a long career without a down period, be it a half season or a season here or there. This is not unprecedented.
"We need to stabilize the pitching rotation. This club leads all of baseball in runs scored, not just the American League. The defense has been good, the bullpen has been solid, we do need to stabilize the starting pitching. I do think good things will flow from that."
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine says he's happy with the current roster, but understands if Cherington needs to make a move.
"All I can tell you is that Ben works as much, as hard, as diligently as anybody I have ever been around. If there is something he can do to improve out team then I'm sure he's going to do it," Valentine said. "I don't know that there will be one thing, or many things, or no things, but I'll guarantee you that all the avenues will be explored.
"I like my team," Valentine said. "I like my pitching. I like our defense and our offense. If Ben feels there is a way on improving what we have then I'll be all for that, too, but I don't see any gaping holes in our team."