Red Sox brass on 'fact-finding' mission

SEATTLE -- Boston general manager Ben Cherington and manager Bobby Valentine both met with the media before Monday’s game, and neither was at the top of his game.

They both looked a little as if they were light on sleep, the kind of insomnia that comes from the Red Sox being in fourth place (and fading) in the American League East and looking ugly while doing it.

Not surprising, since the Red Sox as a whole are far from the top of their game.

And looming in the background was the presence of team owner John Henry, who was in Seattle for the day. He had breakfast Monday with Valentine as part of what he described as a ``fact-finding’’ stop in the wake of Boston’s season-worst six-game losing streak.

First things first; Valentine still has a job. So does Cherington, although the general manager said frankly that both he and Valentine were being studied by ownership as much as any of the players on the roster.

``We are both being evaluated,’’ Cherington said.

Valentine might even come out a little better on the evaluation scale, Cherington suggested, because managers are evaluated on wins and losses, and wins and losses ``are reflective of the talent we have on the field.’’

And in the wake of the mega-trade with the Dodgers that sent Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto to Los Angeles, the makeup of the roster is squarely laid at Cherington’s feet. Yes, the Red Sox have been bedeviled by injuries, but they aren’t the only club for which that’s true.

“I told Bobby and I told the team at the time of the trade that I wasn’t helping the team win games (immediately) by making the trade,’’ Cherington said. ``The problems haven’t just been the pitching. It’s been the offense, the defense. It’s been me.’’

In the wake of the trade the Red Sox won two games against the downtrodden Royals in Fenway Park. Since then, it’s been one debacle after another. In three games against the Angels in Anaheim, Boston was outscored 21-10 in losing all three. In Oakland, it was another sweep, and things were even worse, the A’s outscoring the Sox 33-5.

And that, Cherington said, can’t go on.

``We’re in the middle of a tough stretch,’’ he said. ``And I don’t know what the wins and losses will look like at the end. But I expect us to be competitive.

``We’re focused on what we can get out of the next four weeks.’’

Valentine doesn’t have to focus on his job security, at least not now. He would not go into details about the breaking of bread he had with his boss, but he said that he and Henry talked about the job Valentine had been doing.

``We talked baseball,’’ Valentine said. ``The things we talked about are the things I deal with (as a manager).’’

Earlier in the day, Henry told ESPNBoston.com via email that he was not in Seattle to fire Valentine. Cherington said suggestions that Valentine was in trouble because both the owner and the general manager were in town needed some context.

``I had this on my calendar for a month,’’ Cherington said. ``John was (already) on the West Coast.’’

Still, the general manage would not get into specifics about Valentine’s status and Henry came and went without indicating any need for a move.