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Tom Werner clarifies his "full throttle" comments about Red Sox offseason moves

BOSTON -- Back in November, Red Sox chairman Tom Werner proclaimed that the team would be going "full throttle" to build a contender this offseason. It has led to a rather awkward winter as the Red Sox have been essentially stuck in neutral.

While the Red Sox have had interest in a number of free agents this offseason, Craig Breslow has made just one notable signing so far: Starting pitcher Lucas Giolito. Breslow has also traded away Alex Verdugo (landing three pitchers from the Yankees) and Chris Sale (acquiring second baseman Vaughn Grissom from the Braves), and picked up outfielder Tyler O'Neill from the Cardinals, but that certainly doesn't classify as a "full throttle" approach.

On Tuesday, Werner clarified his "full throttle" statement in a phone interview with MassLive's Sean McAdam.

"Maybe that wasn't the most artful way of saying what I wanted to say, which is that we're going to be pressing all levers to improve the team," Werner told McAdam. "In the end, nobody's happy with our performance the last few years. Some years, we go after somebody who is about to be a free agent, or was a free agent, as it pertains to Trevor Story or Raffy Devers."

Werner said the team felt good about their pitch to Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto, but he ended up signing a lucrative deal with the L.A. Dodgers. As for striking out with other free agents, Werner said that isn't the only avenue they can take to improve the team.

"We certainly aren't happy with the current roster as it was at the end of last year, so if I was going to say it again, I would say that we're going to be pressing all levers and weren't going to be happy with just one (method) — that includes free agency, trades or talent from Triple and Double A. I think that's really what I meant," he said.

While trades remain an option, it sounds more like the Red Sox will be banking on their younger stars and prospects to make a leap in 2024. That's not exactly a win-now approach from a team that has finished in last place in each of the last two seasons.

The Red Sox are currently sitting roughly $35 million below MLB's Competitive Balance Tax, and have given the impression that they're looking to shred payroll with certain free agents. Werner wouldn't say what the team's budget is this offseason, per club policy, but did say that Breslow has the green light to spend.

"In the end, we don't have a line in terms of our payroll that we look at as much as trusting that Craig is going to deliver on his assurance that we're going to be competitive," he said. "I guess the message is that we are confident that we're going to field a competitive team and that we're going to let Craig do what he does best, which is to build exactly that."

But these updated comments from Werner -- and the team's offseason thus far -- don't exactly instill confidence that the Red Sox will be able to "build exactly that." 

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