Red Sox

Francona credits Cherington for Red Sox youth movement

Francona credits Cherington for Red Sox youth movement

Terry Francona’s taken more than his fair share of questions about David Ortiz leading up to Game 1 of the ALDS.

“I love David,” Francona said. “I don’t want him to beat us. And when he’s in the batter’s box, it makes me nervous.”

And Francona went on to express how he wishes Ortiz would retire before Thursday night’s first pitch.

But Big Papi isn’t the only thing that’s caught the ex-Sox manager’s eye -- he’s impressed by Boston’s young, impactful players.

“The guys they've brought up are not just good, they're bordering on great,” Cleveland’s manager said.

In fact, most of the young players were acquired by Boston when Francona was still the Red Sox manager. Xander Bogaerts was signed as a free agent in 2009, while Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts and Matt Barnes were drafted in 2011, Francona's last year in Boston.

And Francona gave most of the credit for the Boston's youth movement to another former Red Sox employee.

“What a good job [ex-GM] Ben Cherington did,” Francona said. “It's hard in Boston to bring guys to the Major Leagues because you don't have the ability to see if a guy can kind of sink or swim. When you get there you better be good.

“And it's a hard place to do that. And I think Ben Cherington and [current Sox GM Mike] Hazen, those guys deserve a ton of credit because they've got some really good young players.”

Cherington’s received quite a bit of credit of late for having a major hand in bringing together much of the 2016 roster.

And rightfully so. Not only did he help develop those young players, but he also helped in the development of Clay Buchholz and Dustin Pedroia. And you can’t forget signing Hanley Ramirez -- another player developed in Boston’s minor leagues -- and Rick Porcello.

Not to mention extending Porcello’s contract before it seemed like a good idea to everyone.

You can only imagine what Francona -- and all of baseball -- will say about Cherington if the Red Sox continue their ascension.

The Baseball Show Podcast: Should we be confident in the Red Sox rotation?

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The Baseball Show Podcast: Should we be confident in the Red Sox rotation?

0:21 - With less than two week before the beginning of the 2018 season, the Red Sox don’t have all of the answers for their rotation. Lou Merloni and Evan Drellich project their Opening Day rotation and discuss the lack of depth in it.

4:39 - Will Boston’s version of the ‘Killer B’s’ return in full force this season? Lou and Evan analyze the performances of Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Andrew Benintendi.

10:07 - Buy or sell? John Farrell will find another managerial position this season; J.D. Martinez will have a better season than Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton; Dave Dombrowski has put the best possible team out there for 2018.