Red Sox owner John Henry on Friday took issue with the increasingly pervasive assumption that some of the team’s recent big-ticket free-agent signings and acquisitions were done to boost sagging ratings and garner public favor rather than for baseball reasons.
“I was more concerned that we didn’t make the playoffs than what the TV ratings were,” Henry said in a surprising appearance on Boston sports radio station 98.5 The Sports Hub. “We felt we needed to be aggressive in the offseason and we were aggressive. But it wasn’t because we needed to prove that we were still going to spend money here.”
Over the last two offseasons, the Red Sox have signed pitcher John Lackey (5 years, $82.5 million), Carl Crawford (7 years, $142 million) and Adrian Gonzalez (7 years, $154 million) to contracts totaling nearly $400 million.
“Can you imagine spending $300 million for PR?,” Henry said. "I could hire someone for a couple hundred thousand to spend all their time on PR. We don’t have that person.”
Henry cited the Crawford signing as an example, saying he was actually opposed to it at the time. Crawford had a hugely disappointing first season in Boston.
“(Crawford was) definitely a baseball signing,” Henry said. “In fact, anyone involved in the process, anyone involved in upper management of the Red Sox, will tell you that I personally opposed that.
“Why? Because we had plenty of left-handed hitting. I don’t have to go into why. I’ll just tell you that at the time I opposed the deal. But I don’t meddle to the point of making decisions for our baseball people. This was driven, and Theo will tell you this, by our baseball people. It wasn’t a PR move, and neither was the Gonzalez signing.”