As Deadline nears, Cherington weighs options

GM did not disclose whether team would be buying or selling

As Deadline nears, Cherington weighs options

HOUSTON -- Buyers? Sellers? Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington chose not to blanket his team in such a categorical way heading into the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

What Cherington seeks most is drastic improvement after a second straight season that has gone sour.

"We're not where we want to be," said Cherington, whose team had lost six straight heading in to Wednesday. "The last 10 days or so haven't gone well and not the way we wanted them to go. I don't think it changes anything in the big picture. We've still got to pursue things that are going to make us better and continue to try to build a good team as quickly as we can."

In truth, Cherington is in this unique position: He could buy an established pitcher like Cole Hamels who could help the team for the next few years. And at the same time, he could sell veterans like Mike Napoli or Shane Victorino who could be useful to teams that are in more realistic contention than the Red Sox.

"I think in today's game, there's less of sort of the black-and-white veteran-for-prospect or vice versa deals," Cherington said. "There's a lot more in between. I just think we've got to continue to talk to every team as we have been. We'll look to identify opportunities that make sense for us and get us moving quickly toward a good team. There may be specific types of trades that make less sense if the math is against us than if the math were for us."

The Red Sox entered action on Wednesday night 10 games under .500, and 10 games back in the American League East.

Napoli and Victorino are among the players whose contracts expire at the end of the season, which could make them attractive for teams trying to make a run this year.

Cherington confirmed he has fielded inquiries from other teams about some of his veterans.

There has been chatter about the Red Sox being a logical landing spot for Hamels ever since Jon Lester signed with the Cubs back in December.

The Phillies are still looking to off-load Hamels, who is under contract at $22.5 million annually in 2016-18 with a club option of $20 million for '19.

"We want to continue to find ways to improve in areas we need to improve and get to be a good team as quickly as we can. When you don't play well leading up to the Deadline, the math starts to not look as good," Cherington said "There may be specific types of deals that would make more or less sense. We'll see what comes of that."

Cherington hoped the Red Sox could contend this season without an established ace, figuring that one of his pitchers would develop into one. At least thus far, that hasn't worked.

"We need to continue to improve the pitching," Cherington said. "There's always going to be two parts to that. It's going to be continuing to find ways to get more out of the guys we have here and continue to look for potential upgrades outside the organization. I don't think that stops on July 31."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.