And then there were 3
November 22, 2011 Leave a comment
The process of finding the next Red Sox manager began in earnest roughly a week after the season when Terry Francona stepped down/was let go. They have interviewed 6 candidates. 3 are out of the race and 3 still remain. It’s clear what direction that the Red Sox are leaning, with the only two candidates with extensive prior managerial experience, Bobby Valentine and Gene Lamont, still in the running. Still Torey Lovullo is still in the running for a reason, most likely being his familiarity with the Red Sox organization and philosophy.
Let’s talk a bit about the deposed candidates before we get to the finalists. Pete Mackanin was the first to interview and coincidentally the first to be taken out of the running. Mackanin does have prior managerial experience, serving on an interim basis on two separate occasions, but it never seemed like his personality was the right fit for the job. Next was Dale Sveum who opted to take the manager’s job with Theo Epstein’s Chicago Cubs. The story is that while the Red Sox brass liked Sveum they weren’t prepared to make the decision at the point in time that the Cubs offered the job to Sveum which actually does make sense if true. The last candidate taken out if the running is Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. Alomar is a great candidate but is woefully short on experience. He only got promoted to bench coach for the Indians in September. He’ll be a great manager someday but not today.
Now for the final candidates. Bobby Valentine is obviously the big name floating around right now. There are many pro and cons that go with Valentine and they’ve all been talked about to death over the past few days. One thing is for sure if Valentine gets the job – it will be interesting days at Fenway Park. The other experienced candidate for the job, Gene Lamont, could be the surprise horse in the race this late. Lamont brings a lot of experience but will be 65 by opening day and he doesn’t exactly have the same type of big personality that Valentine would bring to the clubhouse. There is a possibility could be gaging interest in Lamont’s willingness to serve as bench coach for the less experienced Torey Lovullo. Lovullo is by far the most experienced candidate. That is not a good thing considering the reports that the Red Sox brass are valuing experience in the search. Lovullo does have extensive minor league managerial experience, serving as manager for three different AAA affiliates including the Pawtucket Red Sox during the 2010 season. He spent last year on former Sox pitching coach John Farrell’s coaching staff.
Right now it seems like Valentine’s job to lose but look out for Torey Lovullo. It looks like he may be the last candidate interviewed by Red Sox management and if he impresses there could be sentiment to give the job to the young upstart. GM Ben Cherington had said that he hoped to have a manager by Thanksgiving. With Thanksgiving only two days away that doesn’t seem likely. Eight years ago the Sox hired Francona on December 4th and I would expect a similar timeline this time around. There is still a lot of work to be done but remember the core of the team is already in place. The key job of the manager is to right the sinking ship that was the 2011 Red Sox and will be the 2012 Red Sox. Which man can handle the job? Which man will be asked? We’ll find out in the next few weeks.