Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington, during an appearance on the Mut & Merloni show, said that while former Brewers hitting coach and new Cubs manager Dale Sveum emerged as an early front-runner in the Sox' managerial search, he did not believe that in the end the former Sox third base coach would have represented the right fit for the Sox. Cherington suggested that experience did become a separating factor, to the point where Bobby Valentine (armed with 15 seasons of experience as a big league manager in the majors and seven more in Japan's NPB) was hired over Gene Lamont, a veteran of eight seasons as a manager with the White Sox and Pirates.
"I don’t think [Sveum would have been hired at the end of the process]," said Cherington. "I think the way this evolved, as we got deeper into the process, this was a learning experience for me. This was the first time I’ve run a managerial search process. I was involved in a much smaller way when we hired [Terry Francona], but this was the first time that I’ve engineered it.
"I learned a lot through the process. I think I did start out sort of thinking about it more in a theoretical sense. Who is the person who has sort of the theoretical qualities I’ve been looking for? As we got deeper into it, actually got into formal interviews, talked about X's and O's, we talked about what would you actually do in this situation and this situation, what would you do on May 15 when this happened -- those sorts of questions, the real questions -- it sort of came to light for me that experience really did matter in this particular situation, for this team, for this moment, given where we are.
"I did feel like we were going to be headed in that direction, and I think ultimately that’s why Gene and Bobby became the finalists."
Sveum became the first candidate to have a second round interview with Sox owners, a meeting that occurred during the GM/owners' meetings in Milwaukee last month. Shortly after that interview, Sveum was offered the job by the Cubs and accepted and a few days later, Valentine visited the Sox front office to interview for the job. On Thursday, Valentine became the 45th manager in Red Sox history.
A few other highlights of the interview:
Cubs compensation talks: Cherington said that the unresolved compensation talks with the Cubs for the departure of former Sox GM Theo Epstein has been treated as something other than a front-burner issue.
"It’s like cleaning the garage. You know it’s out there and you’ve got to do it, but you’re going to do everything else first," said Cherington. "It’s that thing that you know you have to do at some point, but you’re sort of working on other stuff."
Cherington also suggested that the matter doesn't seem like one that would require the attention of the Commissioner's Office.
"It doesn’t seem like it raises to the level of something that would be a huge concern for baseball," he said.
On Jonathan Papelbon's deal: Cherington said that it was clear enough that the Sox weren't going to match what the Phillies offered Jonathan Papelbon (four years, $50 million) that the closer never owed the team a phone call or an opportunity to match Philadelphia's contract, since the Sox were unlikely to do so.
On how Daniel Bard will fit into next year's team: Cherington said that Daniel Bard is ready to take on a larger role with the Sox, though it remains to be seen what that role is. He said that the right-hander is capable of becoming a starter based on physique, stuff, intelligence and the way he takes care of himself, but that it remained to be seen whether that would be something that the team pursued in 2012.
"I know whatever role he's in in 2012, it will be an important one and he'll be prepared for it," said Cherington.
On finding a closer: In terms of the closer for next year, Cherington suggested that the team was taking an open-minded approach, exploring candidates who were already in the organization as well as the free agent and trade markets.
"The thing about closers, there are very few that keep doing it at an elite level over a long, long period of time. There’s just very few Mariano Riveras and Trevor Hoffmans," said Cherington. "The key often times is finding a guy at the right part of his career where he’s getting ready to go on a run and do it. That’s our challenge moving forward.
"We feel like we have some internal options. We’ll continue to explore external options, both through trade and free agency. It is a position that sometimes evolves out of areas that you’re not expecting. The Cardinals went into the season with Ryan Franklin as closer. I’m not even sure he was in the ballpark when they won the World Series. ... But it’s important. We know that, for a team like this, as we go into the season, it’s important to have a closer defined. I’m not sure it’s important to have next week or two weeks from now."
On David Ortiz: The GM restated the team's desire to bring back DH David Ortiz, calling him a "remarkable guy" and "remarkable hitter." Cherington said the Sox will meet with his representatives at the winter meetings next week in Dallas, the continuation of ongoing talks with the club that recently included an offer of salary arbitration.
"When you [offer arbitration], it’s the most official example of our interest in bringing him back," said Cherington. "We do want him back. We want him on the team. He’s a force, still, in the lineup. He’s certainly meant a lot to the organization. ... We want him on the team. We’ll keep talking to him and try to bring him back."
For more highlights from the conversation, check the Full Count blog. To listen to the interview, visit the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox.
We check in with the playmaker, the great number 88 Michael Irvin for his unique take on deflategate, the Patriots and the NFL.
Ben Volin has been a must-read on the Pats and Deflategate despite him ruffling the feathers of many Pats fans and he joins NFL Sunday to discuss the latest. He talks about the owners' meetings and what he expects to unfold this week as well as the showdown between Goodell and Kraft.
The guys provide more thoughts on the latest on Deflategate and get callers' reaction.
Greg Dickerson and John Tomase discuss the amazing season for the Celts and if they have any chance against Lebron and the Cleveland Cavs in a seven game series. If they do, HOW ... how do they get it done?
Brian "White Mamba" Scalabrine joins the guys to talk about the Celtics playoff push, the development of Marcus Smart and James Young, and the prospect of Brad Stevens leaving the Celtics for a college job.
Brow Buff's Sam Packard and Ben Kichen break down Marcus Smart's unfortunate ball tap, debate leadership in the Celtics locker room, and rehash the great Kevin Love to Boston rumors.
Dale, Michael and Jerry Thornton speak to Red Sox Manager John Farrell live from Fenway Park for our weekly visit.
Joe & Dave talked to the rookie Sox catcher, who knocked in the go-ahead run against Felix Hernandez.
Joe and Dave talk with Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino fater the Sox beat the Seattle Mariners 2-1 and saw some great defense from Shane as well as a solo HR from him.
Don Sweeney, who was hired as the Bruins general manager yesterday speaks with Dale and Holley about his new position and where the Bruins go from here.
The awesomely knowledgeable Fluto Shinzawa calls DJ, Naoko and Pete to talk about his thoughts on the future of the B's. He discusses his column from earlier this week on Cam Neely wanting to give Claude the ax earlier in the season but not getting the ok. Fluto shares his thoughts on Chiarelli's firing, the future for Claude and where the Bruins should go from here. He also gives his opinion on potential moves the team can make, who would fit in here, his thoughts on the NHL playoffs so far and more.
In the final hour of the "midseason finale" as DJ likes to call it, the crew discuss more about the future of the Bruins franchise, the possible power struggle in the front office and who should be the head coach going forward. They talk to intelligent and talented Fluto Shinzawa about all of these thing and more in an excellent interview, and finally, DJ says THANK YOU!
Shirley Leung joins Dino, Gerry and Kirk to look at Boston's Olympic hopes.
Stephen A. joined us to discuss Tom Brady's suspension.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
The guys talk about the charges surrounding one of the stars of 19 Kids and Counting and what TLC should do with the show.
Lou, Christian and Greg react to their interview with Bill Polian and take calls from listeners to get their take on the latest surrounding Deflategate.
With all the Deflategate news, Lou hasn't had a chance to complain about the Red Sox and their poor start. Christian and Greg give Lou a minute to get all his thoughts out as fast as he can.
David Letterman has wrapped up his show and we picked out four of our favorite moments from his career.
Roger Goodell's integrity and credibility is in question and Sally Jenkins wrote a scathing piece on Roger Goodell joins us.
The definitive deflate gate song
Mikey Adams is joined by Chris Villani as they take calls on the Friday night Two Minute Drill and discuss the ongoing DeflateGate saga with the New England Patriots and Roger Goodell's role in hearing the Tom Brady appeal.
Continued conversation on deflate-gate and the aftermath of the Brady suspension and sanctions passed down to the Patriots organization
Julian Edlow of the Green Street Blog and Draftkings.com joins the program to break down the the two conference finals series, the NBA Draft, and whether or not Corey Brewer is the ugliest player in the game?
Ben, Russ, and Alex recap the Revs loss to Sporting KC and discuss what the Revs need moving forward. Also discussed is the FFP and how it will affect the transfer window.
Dino, Gerry and Kirk discuss Dino's rehab experience.
Stephen A. joined us to discuss Tom Brady's suspension.More from this show
Dale, Michael and Jerry Thornton listen in on Roger Goodell's conversation with the media at the owner's meetings, and most Patriots fans cannot believe their owner capitulated to this empty suit. We react with you.More from this show
Dale, Michael and Jerry continue to discuss and take reaction to deflategate, with the latest wrinkles coming from the NFL social media department taking shots at the organization even after Robert Kraft capitulated to his team's punishment.More from this show