FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported that managerial candidate Dale Sveum is returning Tuesday for a second round of interviewing with the Boston Red Sox. This should be an indication of which way the Red Sox are leaning in the search for a new manager.
Sveum now appears to be in the lead to replace former boss Terry Francona as skipper for Boston. He is one of about a half dozen names being linked to the Sox. Competitors include Sandy Alomar, Jr., Torey Lovullo, Gene Lamont and Pete Mackanin.
Timing seems about right for a decision since GMs and ownership from all the big league clubs are meeting this week in Milwaukee. Boston GM Ben Cherington has to be desperate for some positive news. Announcing a successor should detract from the fallout from the last two months. Especially given Jonathan Papelbon will no longer be closing games out for the Sox.
The general consensus on Sveum seems to be he is an underwhelming candidate. The biggest knock being that he does not have any experience at the helm. His highest role being the hitting coach for the recently successful Brewers.
To me, hitting was not the club’s most pressing issue, so what is the benefit of adding a professional hitting instructor?
He does bring a familiarity with the Boston clubhouse, serving as the third base coach during 2004-05. Upon quick examination though, there are very few of those players still in the organization. David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis were there, but none of the other players would hold any loyalty to Sveum from the glory days.
Ownership should have a good measure on Sveum’s personality, perhaps aiding in his chance of securing the position. Maybe John Henry, Larry Lucchino and even Tom Warner are aware of some intangibles that are not as obvious on his resume.
The other rumored replacements bring as little or less in way of big league managing credentials. They all have served mostly in a bench or base coach capacity, as well, so Sveum certainly seems as qualified as the rest of the bunch.
Perhaps a bit surprising is none of the high-profile names have gained many headlines during the search. Last I checked, Bobby Valentine remains available. I would think someone like that would bring valuable experience in dealing with today’s delicate superstars. Adding big-market tenure, as well.
Even Ken Macha seems like he could provide the discipline needed to get the Sox back in order. Also, he already has an established a connection with the organization between his time analyzing games on NESN and as manager of the Pawtucket Red Sox. Ownership may be a bit hesitant because of a recent mediocre performance as Milwaukee’s manager.
Also, a bit telling is the reluctance of some candidates to consider the job. Mike Maddux politely declined an interview and former Boston pitching coach John Farrell appears content in Toronto. Bottom line: Coaching Boston brings constant criticism and requires a unique ability to navigate — and the need for rather thick skin.
Local fans and media dissect every decision. I can think of only a few markets where you are second-guessed so much on a daily basis.
All you have to do is look at Francona to realize the high level of accountability that accompanies this job. Two World Championships was not enough to save his job.
Odds are by the end of this week’s meetings the vacancy should be filled. Whether Sveum comes out on top remains to be seen, but getting invited back for further consideration should give him a leg up.