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Do the Red Sox have any idea what they’re doing in their managerial search?

Nov 17, 2011, 8:27 AM EST

Liverpool Football club's co-owner, John Getty Images

The Red Sox seemed pretty interested in Dale Sveum for their managerial opening and now the Cubs have him. Or, will have him, assuming that he accepts their offer.  And it seems like he should because the Red Sox apparently decided against him:

Red Sox owners John Henry and Tom Werner, who met with Sveum yesterday, appear to want a candidate with more major league managerial experience.

Which is sort of silly considering their entire managerial search thus far has been focused on guys who have not really managed in the Major Leagues that much. Gene Lamont has, but I don’t think anyone thought of him a a frontrunner for the job.  Rather, it was Sveum, Mike Maddux, Pete Mackanin, Torey Lovullo and Sandy Alomar Jr. None of whom have had a full time manager’s gig in the bigs.

But now they want someone totally different than that? Some guy who has a lot of major league experience? You’d think that if that were the case they would interviewed such beasts some time in the past few weeks.  Not that a ton of those guys exist. As Pete Abe notes:

Finding worthwhile candidates with experience could be difficult. There are former managers available such as Don Wakamatsu, Jim Riggleman or Trey Hillman. Another possibility would be ESPN analyst Bobby Valentine.

I know there are some Bobby Valentine rah-rah guys out there, but is anyone really inspired by that list?

Anyway, to sum up: the Sox pushed out the franchise’s best manager of all time, threw him under the bus with the press when he left, and conducted a search for his replacement that, after several weeks, is now being completely refocused in terms of what kind of candidate ownership wants.

It’s funny: after the season the Boston clubhouse was lambasted for its apparent dysfunction.  I think the front office is in pretty dysfunctional shape itself.

  1. JBerardi - Nov 17, 2011 at 8:32 AM

    “Anyway, to sum up: the Sox pushed out the franchise’s best manager of all time,”

    Uhh, Dick Williams retired in the 80s.

    • Francisco (FC) - Nov 17, 2011 at 8:39 AM

      furthermore, Dick Williams died back in July. However, while there is no doubt he’s a HoF Manager is he REALLY the Red Sox’s best manager of all time? He only managed them from 67-69 with no titles to show for it. Francona managed them for more years and two World Series Championships.

      • paperlions - Nov 17, 2011 at 8:44 AM

        What is true is that Francona managed the best teams the franchise has ever put together. I have no idea how that makes him the best at anything. He is clearly the most lucky Red Sox manager of all time….the best? Based on what?

      • Francisco (FC) - Nov 17, 2011 at 8:48 AM

        I’m not sure, I’m just saying Francona has a better case than Dick Williams. Do you have someone better in mind? In reality I’m not exactly sure what makes a Manager great, his Win total with a team? Winning PCT? How much of that is luck in managing talented teams? How do you measure the difference the manager makes with the team? It’s incredibly subjective because I think most manager wins are at least as meaningful as catcher wins. Hey at least the pitcher is on the mound throwing the ball that day…

      • JBerardi - Nov 17, 2011 at 8:50 AM

        Dick Williams won two WS with the A’s, so they’re even there.

        Look, I don’t really know who was the better manager. But that’s my whole point. You can’t just look at the win-loss records and say “oh, this guy won the most, he’s clearly the best”. They’ve got these guys called “players”, see, and they actually have a lot more control over the outcome of the game than a manager does.

        I’ve said it a million times, no one thought Francona was anything special after his tenure in Philly. Put him in Boston and give him rosters with Ortiz, Ramirez, Schilling, Pedroia, Beckett, Lester, Youkilis, Martinez, etc, and suddenly he’s the best manager ever. BS. He’s the same guy who accomplished nothing with a lesser team. He’s got a certain skillset as a manager, and it’s a good one, but calling him the best manager the red sox ever had based on a purely results-oriented analysis is just silly.

      • Francisco (FC) - Nov 17, 2011 at 8:53 AM

        Dick Williams won two WS with the A’s,

        Right.. with the A’s… how in the heck does that translate into being BOSTON’s best manager? That’s like saying Ty Cobb was the Athletics BEST player of all time.

      • JBerardi - Nov 17, 2011 at 8:57 AM

        “How do you measure the difference the manager makes with the team?”

        It’s very difficult. If the team wins, at a minimum, you do have to credit the manager with, at a bare minimum, not screwing it up. I think that’s actually Francona’s greatest strength as a manager; the ability to take a talented roster and get the hell out of it’s way (didn’t work in September when the Sox needed him to do something proactive). That’s fine, but I don’t think it automatically qualifies him as the greatest manager the Red Sox ever had. And it’s kind of shocking how many intelligent people seem to be willing to throw that label on him without any research or investigation of any kind.

        It’s like saying that Manny Ramirez is better than Ted Williams because he’s got two more rings, or that Eli is as good as Payton because they’ve both got one. Team sports don’t work that way, people.

      • JBerardi - Nov 17, 2011 at 9:00 AM

        “Right.. with the A’s… how in the heck does that translate into being BOSTON’s best manager? That’s like saying Ty Cobb was the Athletics BEST player of all time.”

        I mean, I think that if Earl Weaver or Casey Stengal managed the Red Sox for even one season, you’d have to consider them as the greatest Red Sox manager of all time. I don’t really care how long he was with the team, I care about how good a manager he actually was. The best way to judge that is to look at his whole career.

      • paperlions - Nov 17, 2011 at 9:05 AM

        Berardi, this is exactly why I was kind of rooting for Francona to get the job (and I couldn’t agree more).

        “If the team wins, at a minimum, you do have to credit the manager with, at a bare minimum, not screwing it up. I think that’s actually Francona’s greatest strength as a manager; the ability to take a talented roster and get the hell out of it’s way”

        There is simply no evidence that a manager can have much of a positive impact (beyond staying out of the way). The best way to win the most games is to put the best players on the field and let them play. Managing the bullpen is the biggest area for positive effect, and one could easily argue that the pitching coach has a bigger effect on that aspect than the manager. Most things managers do (hit and runs, sac bunts, IBBs, double switches, alleged defensive substitutions) combine to reduce a teams chances of winning….managers just do it because they feel like they have to do something, when, in fact, it is the players that have to do something.

      • Francisco (FC) - Nov 17, 2011 at 9:08 AM

        Maybe, maybe not. But it’s still not fair because if the manager lucks out with very talented rosters from other teams why should that translate into being the best manager for the first team he managed? So while I get the critique on Francona, you can easily apply it the other way around: why should success elsewhere give a guy credit for one of the other teams he managed. I guess my point is that a Manager should at least achieve something WITH the team to be considered the best, be it a championship or longevity with lots of winning seasons. It’s really subjective I hate to say…

      • Roger Moore - Nov 17, 2011 at 9:41 AM

        @JBerardi:

        If you’re going to pick the guy with the best managerial career who ever managed the Red Sox rather than the guy who did the best job with the Sox, you’d have to go with Joe McCarthy. He does have the highest winning percentage of any manager with a real career, is tied for the most World Series wins, and never had a losing record or finished in the second division in 24 seasons. He wasn’t bad with the Sox, either.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 17, 2011 at 10:01 AM

        I’m thinking managers are more important than some of you give them credit for. Bringing up Francona for example. When he first came to Boston, he was all fired up and managed a stacked team very well. But look at the team in 2011. The team was even more stacked. Ortiz played better than expected. Yet the team fell apart. I’d say the reason that the team fell apart is because Francona did. This is precisely why he isn’t going to have a job this upcoming season. Granted, they had pitching issues, but much of that stems from Francona losing control of his team imo. This is all theory of course, but that’s the most you can do when evaluating certain situations. The RS should have been the team to beat last season, but they under performed. I think it’s because Francona lost control of the team. Managing the team is important, because these guys are the glue that holds the team together, they have to manage personalities, they have to put the right players in the right position to play their best. It isn’t easy. I think Joe Madden is the finest example of a man able to get the most from his team. There are others, like Washington, and Manuel who are good at this. But imo Francona lost control of his team and that’s why he’s out of work. He let the pitching staff become complacent, and seemed to stop caring, that to me sums up the RS season in 2011.

      • paperlions - Nov 17, 2011 at 10:47 AM

        Francona managing healthy stacked team = winning

        Francona managing injured stacked team = losing

        Giving managers a good deal of credit for talented teams winning is like considering players valuable for their intangibles or for being a good clubhouse guy….losing teams are chock full of guys with good intangibles and that are good clubhouse guys, those factors just don’t amount to much in the absence of talent and aren’t necessary in the presence of it.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 17, 2011 at 12:53 PM

        No, I don’t think it is PL. I think Managers are the glue that holds a team together. I think that the manager is the one to stop people from becoming complacent about their jobs, he’s a motivator. And I don’t want to hear about “injuries” with the RS being the culprit. Because looking at that team and the Rays, the RS still had much more talent on the field, even in that tough division the Rays made more out of less, and I firmly believe it had a lot to do with who was managing the team. Maddon makes his guys want to win for him, and he also keeps it fun for them.

  2. Francisco (FC) - Nov 17, 2011 at 8:34 AM

    Either someone was misquoted or they really are like Alicia Silverstone.

    • Jonny 5 - Nov 17, 2011 at 8:46 AM

      Cute and sexy?

      • Francisco (FC) - Nov 17, 2011 at 8:50 AM

        Clueless J5… Clueless…

    • Jonny 5 - Nov 17, 2011 at 8:58 AM

      LEAVE ALICIA SILVERSTONE ALONE!!!

      • cur68 - Nov 17, 2011 at 9:14 AM

        ….WITH ME!!!

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 17, 2011 at 9:32 AM

        lol! You wish Cur… contrary to her roles the woman is smart as can be, i think she’s worth around 16 million as of now….

  3. crispybasil - Nov 17, 2011 at 8:48 AM

    Yeah, John Henry and co. are pretty pathetic right now. I was hoping for Sveum or Mackanin, but now it looks like both are out.

    • Francisco (FC) - Nov 17, 2011 at 8:51 AM

      Mackanin would be great! If only to promote Sandberg to bench coach! :D

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 17, 2011 at 9:37 AM

        I’m kind of with you FC. I don’t know why but I think Sandberg would be better to replace Charlie than Mackanin when Charlie retires.

  4. EK Ohio - Nov 17, 2011 at 8:50 AM

    This is ridiculous. Has anyone in the Boston or national media ever been on the hiring side? It is not uncommon at all for searches to change focus after talking to candidates because you realize “hey, maybe we didn’t want these guys after all”. And you know what, the owners decide who they want for the manager, not the fans or the media. I think the biggest mess out there right now is the Boston media – full of hatred, bile and disdain for exactly what their livelihood depends. I’ve never seen a sadder sack of sour grapes than the current Boston media.

    • JBerardi - Nov 17, 2011 at 9:04 AM

      Right. Again, this is the same group of people who hired Francona in the first place, a decision everyone questioned at the time. It’s entirely possible that the stupid idiots who hired the brilliant geniuses Theo and Francona might actually know a thing or two about hiring baseball people.

    • dan1111 - Nov 17, 2011 at 9:35 AM

      I agree. We don’t really know what’s going on in the process. Wait until they actually do something stupid before accusing them of stupidity. The Boston sports media is ridiculous. JBerardi has a good point, too.

  5. mattintoledo - Nov 17, 2011 at 8:51 AM

    I’ve seen that John Henry photo before and thought he looked like somebody. Today it hit me. Dana Carvey.

    • jjschiller - Nov 17, 2011 at 10:19 AM

      Specifically, the Church Lady.

  6. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Nov 17, 2011 at 8:55 AM

    Wally Backman is available.

    • sdelmonte - Nov 17, 2011 at 9:12 AM

      He’s being named manager of the Mets’ Triple-A team today, I think. Which is to say, he’s clearly in line for the big job after Collins leaves.

  7. ptho16 - Nov 17, 2011 at 9:05 AM

    What about Mike Hargrove? not sure if he wants to manage again, I know he has a pretty cushy position as an adviser with the Indians, but he managed all of those personalities in the Indians clubhouse during the 90s, Albert Belle, Manny Ramirez, Robbie Alomar and Omar Vizquel (who wouldn’t even talk to one another). The Red Sox would be a cake walk.

  8. uyf1950 - Nov 17, 2011 at 9:08 AM

    Has anyone stopped to consider that there may be another reason why the Sox apparently wanted to move on from Sveum as their manager of choice.

    Maybe just maybe when they all went out to lunch he ordered beer and fried chicken.

    I’m really surprised no one else thought of that.

  9. ohleee - Nov 17, 2011 at 9:09 AM

    Can someone please explain to me why Ryne Sandberg is being dissed by both the Cubs and the Red Sox?

    • paperlions - Nov 17, 2011 at 9:15 AM

      I might be able to, if you can first explain to me how not being interviewed by them represents being dissed. Just because fans (who have zero information about managerial candidates) think a guy would be good, doesn’t mean he should be a candidate for every (or any) job opening.

      • ohleee - Nov 17, 2011 at 11:25 AM

        Aside from Francona, who has a better resume? Who enjoys greater respect from players he has managed? Lamont? Matheny?
        And what’s this baloney about “fans who have zero information about managerial candidates”? “Zero information”!

      • paperlions - Nov 17, 2011 at 11:41 AM

        There are 100s of minor league managers with more experience and that have as much or more respect from their players…those guys just weren’t HOF 2B, so fans (like you) and the media don’t know or care who they are….but in reality they are all at least as qualified as Sandberg, and the people that are “dissing” Sandberg…know have infinitely more information about Sandberg as well as the 100s of guys you don’t remember from their playing days that have better managerial resumes.

  10. dink53 - Nov 17, 2011 at 9:14 AM

    If they hire Gene Lamont, we’ll throw in Lloyd McClendon for free.

  11. schlom - Nov 17, 2011 at 9:19 AM

    You say that you aren’t inspired by their list of alleged candidates but was anyone inspired in 2004 when they hired Terry Francona?

    • dan1111 - Nov 17, 2011 at 9:41 AM

      Jim Riggleman’s work with the Nationals was highly regarded.

      • paperlions - Nov 17, 2011 at 10:48 AM

        He apparently did a better job managing the same roster than Davey Johnson did….you know….if we are giving managers credit for teams winning.

      • tekton8 - Nov 17, 2011 at 12:28 PM

        …flight risk.

  12. psousa1 - Nov 17, 2011 at 9:33 AM

    Bullsh!t. If Theo and the cubs didn’t hire Sveum and the sox did the Boston media (who worship the ground Epstein walks on because he loved using them for leaks) would claim they were hiring Epstein’s castoffs.

    Going to love to hear about the first time Ricketts says to Epstein “you want to spend how much on who?!”

    Lucchino has more friggin’ brains than most MLB executives put together.

    So sickening. Sox will win the AL next year because they won’t rely on algorithms and instead will get things done through players who can play.

    • dan1111 - Nov 17, 2011 at 9:48 AM

      Yes, that’s one thing the Sox were known for in the Epstein years: not having “players who can play.” It’s amazing they managed to scrape by with an 839-619 record, six playoff appearances, and two World Series.

    • JBerardi - Nov 17, 2011 at 1:53 PM

      “Lucchino has more friggin’ brains than most MLB executives put together.”

      Nice to see Larry posts on HBT…

  13. bigleagues - Nov 17, 2011 at 9:48 AM

    CRAIG:

    1) OBJECTION: Any assertion that the Red Sox ownership threw Francona under the bus is pure conjecture. No one, journalist or otherwise, has made the source of the Francona information public (but something tells me he was just fired . . . Dave Page) and Henry has repeatedly denied that he or ownership had anything to do with it. Henry has to get the benefit of the doubt on this.

    2) No one should be surprised that Red Sox managerial search has and will drag on. This is almost exactly what happened in 2003, when Francona was hired in December after the Curt Schilling trade, and a month after he interviewed.

    It sounds as if they went through their younger, inexperienced candidates and weren’t, quoting Epstein, “bowled over” like they were with Francona. So now it’s time to loop around and look at the other slate of candidates. From the start of this process I have had Trey Hillman as my frontrunner (mostly because I have a few friends that are still friendly with him {and Ken Macha for that matter} – and anytime the Red Sox can simultaneously hire a manager and create a new potential hooo-KUP for me . . . well, I’m elated.)

  14. tashkalucy - Nov 17, 2011 at 10:04 AM

    I keep saying that the Red Sox and Yankees are being passed by the Rays and Blue Jays, and teir fans come on here and flame me.

    But anyone that reads the news on what these teams are doing sees bloated payrolls, too much age, little leadership, and a lack of quality pitching depth.

    Flame away……

    • mabunar - Nov 17, 2011 at 10:41 AM

      Average age for Sox was 30.1 last year…counting Varitek, Drew and Wakefield who will be gone this year. How do you get “too much age” there?

      Drabek, Jo Jo Reyes and Brett Cecil are better depth than what Sox/Yankees have (or will get)???

      Rays had nice season, but it took an epic collapse for them to get into playoffs. If they keep Shields for a while and if Moore and Hellickson keep progressing…yeah, I like their staff a lot… But Blue Jays? C’mon.

    • bigharold - Nov 17, 2011 at 11:56 AM

      “I keep saying that the Red Sox and Yankees are being passed by the Rays and Blue Jays,…”

      Being passed? How so, .. certainly not in the win/lose column. Excluding the RS historic collapse the Rays were just about where I thought they’d be last year. The Jays didn’t do as well as I thought and better start looking over their shoulder for the O’s.

  15. CJ - Nov 17, 2011 at 10:17 AM

    They want an experience manager with a track record?

    I hear Terry Francona’s available.

  16. bozosforall - Nov 17, 2011 at 11:01 AM

    Once again, the Red Sox are a joke. Absent the steroids that fueled their last decade, they are ringless for nearly a century. Perfect for a second-rate organization in a second-rate city.

    • paperlions - Nov 17, 2011 at 11:19 AM

      In the absence of all PEDs, it is likely that no team has won a WS since1950.

    • JBerardi - Nov 17, 2011 at 1:58 PM

      “The Red Sox only won because of steroids” is to Baseball as “The Preznit’s a secret kenyan muslim socialist sleeper agent!” is to politics.

      If you want to believe anything badly enough, you can find “proof” that it’s true.

  17. cintiphil - Nov 17, 2011 at 11:29 AM

    NO!

  18. FrDrDRS3 - Nov 17, 2011 at 11:38 AM

    Its looking like they are setting this up for The Caption, V-Tek to take the reigns. At this point he’s looking like their best option. Holy Cow what a mess!

    • daisycutter1 - Nov 17, 2011 at 12:58 PM

      Hey, if Varitek manages do you think he’ll have a giant M on his jersey?

      • JBerardi - Nov 17, 2011 at 1:58 PM

        Do you think he’ll be any more effective at running the clubhouse than he was this year?

  19. Old Gator - Nov 17, 2011 at 12:03 PM

    Did the Red Sox have any idea what they were doing when they forced out the best GM and manager they had ever had in the first place?

    • thekcubrats - Nov 17, 2011 at 12:34 PM

      Yeah, but it was the wrong idea.

    • JBerardi - Nov 17, 2011 at 2:04 PM

      “Did the Red Sox have any idea what they were doing when they forced out the best GM and manager they had ever had in the first place?”

      Well, that’s a glib and shallow reading of the situation in Boston, but you know what? Even if it’s all true… still better than Loria.

      • Old Gator - Nov 17, 2011 at 5:30 PM

        Were you expecting an argument from me over that assertion?

    • dan1111 - Nov 18, 2011 at 6:23 AM

      The current Red Sox owners have been outstandingly successful so far. They were also responsible for hiring Epstein and Francona. In particular, making Epstein the youngest GM ever was a high-risk move for which they deserve credit. They should be given a little more benefit of the doubt in this situation, perhaps.

  20. Panda Claus - Nov 17, 2011 at 12:38 PM

    The Red Sox saw how well the Orioles’ GM search went–then decided to conduct their own managerial search using the same model.

  21. ohleee - Nov 17, 2011 at 2:02 PM

    paperlions:
    1) Could you be a little more condescending?
    2) “There are 100s of minor league managers with more experience and that have as much or more respect from their players…”
    Maybe. Name some.
    3) “those guys just weren’t HOF 2B, so fans (like you) and the media don’t know or care who they are….”
    So what? Why don’t GMs (who know “infinitely more” than “fans (like [me]) and the media” interview them? And is being HOF necessarily a negative? (Pace Ted Williams)
    4) “…..but in reality they are all at least as qualified as Sandberg.”
    And you know this how? Give us some stats, why doncha.
    5) You still haven’t answered my resume question – and get your knickers untwisted – I was referring to the group of guys that have been interviewed or bandied about: Again, aside from from Francona who has a better resume than RD? You didn’t bite on Lamont and Matheny, how about Sveum? Oquendo? DeMarlo Hale? Lovullo? Maddux? Chris Maloney?Trey Hillman? Wakanatsu? Dave Martinez? Step, take a few hacks.

  22. foodforthesoul28 - Nov 17, 2011 at 4:39 PM

    This talk is getting annoying! Choose a manager already!

  23. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Nov 17, 2011 at 5:18 PM

    I like any post where Henry’s Hipster Glasses make an appearance.

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