FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox gathered for their first full-squad workout Wednesday. Team ownership addressed the ball club behind closed doors at 8:30 a.m.
When the Sox burst from their clubhouse to engage in their grueling drills (think Navy Seal training and NFL two-a-days of Julys past), Sox CEO Larry Lucchino and chairman Tom Werner met with the media for more promotion of the upcoming season, and an explanation of the somewhat cloudy governance of the ball club.
One day after Sox/Globe boss John Henry said things with the club have “never been better,’’ Lucchino and Werner echoed the optimism, explaining that they are not like the old Yankees even though they are spending like the old Yankees, and attempted to clarify the notion that Lucchino is ceding power on Yawkey Way to No. 2 investor (trailing only Henry) Mike Gordon.
“Scale back appeals to me,’’ said Lucchino. “Dropping off the face of the earth doesn’t appeal to me. It’s about being active and doing things and continuing to do things. I can see where a day will come, sure.”
Lucchino, who will now be involved in moving the Pawtucket Red Sox to Providence, and building a ballpark in downtown Providence, said his role with the Sox is no different, adding, “We have an additional voice . . . This is a team and things evolve. It’s not really any kind of power structure. That’s just not the right way to read it.
“I can understand the interest in palace intrigue. There just isn’t much palace intrigue to record.’’
What about the official RedSox.com directory, which (as of Wednesday at noon) shows, “President, Fenway Sports Group, Michael Gordon,” ranking above Lucchino on the team masthead?
“A mistake,’’ said Werner.
Wow. Patriots ballboy Jim McNally must have done it.
Lucchino has been the third-ranking official of the Sox triumvirate since Henry bought the team in 2001. It’s been John, Tom, and Larry. The Trio. According to Henry, Gordon was named president of Fenway Sports Group last year. According to everyone, FSG is the parent company of the Red Sox. This would make the CEO of FSG the boss of the CEO of the Red Sox. And that’s what the new directory demonstrates. For now . . .
“A lot has been made of the story, but John, Larry, and I have the same relationship today in our 14th year as when we started,’’ said Werner. “Mike has a significant role at FSG. That really does not impact the Red Sox very much.
“It’s not like I have reviewed the club directory. It probably was a mistake . . . I really do think it’s a bit of the tempest in the teapot.
“I’ve never even seen a masthead in my life until it was shown to us last night, and Mike is involved with FSG, and I don’t want to argue about whose name is above whose, but that was a mistake that we’re going to correct.’’
OK, now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s get back to baseball. In the spring of 2014, Lucchino mocked the Yankees for their free-spending ways. He made it clear that the Sox would never be like the Yankees. But in the last six months, the Sox have committed $318 million to four position players, including 19-year-old Cuban Yoan Moncada, a prospect coveted by the Pinstripes. Wouldn’t it be fair to say this is Yankee-like behavior?
“There are a lot of things that people could get me to say, but I could never admit to that,’’ said Lucchino. “Not in my own mind, at least.
“We are different. We run our franchises differently. There is a commonality in our willingness to invest sizable sums in baseball players . . . In that sense, like the Dodgers and Giants and successful clubs, we are willing to pay the price and write the check.
“There’s a question of pattern and consistency over time. That’s one way to distinguish us. But we’re not going to not avail ourselves of what we think is a really good baseball opportunity because someone’s going to compare us to the Yankees. We run our franchise differently.
“But I can see that on this [Moncada signing], we were in intense competition with the Yankees, the Dodgers, and the Padres. So there are going to be times we may look like we do some of the same things, but the pattern, the practice, the history are all very different.’’
“We’re still below both of them [Yankees and Dodgers] in terms of major league payroll, but where we will be up at the top is where we should be — and that’s the acquisition of amateur talent. Those are areas where we’re kind of proud to be near the top.’’
It’s good news for Sox fans. While the mysterious Gordon remains the embodiment of the silent partner, Henry, Werner, and Lucchino are not shy about efforts to buy success for Red Sox fans.
“We have a strong commitment to winning,’’ said Werner. “John said it eloquently. We play for championships.
“We were all smarting over the finish that we had last year, and I think there’s a great mix between veterans and younger players in camp this year. I feel a great sense of optimism.
“It’s our intention to play baseball in October every year.’’
Dan Shaughnessy can be reached at email@example.com