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 had an impromptu visit from Peter King from SI / MMQB to our Fenway Studios and decided to talk some NFL and Patriots with him.
Pete talks with The Senator, Phil Perry about the Patriots trading for Dwayne Allen, ruling out a return to New England for Martellus Bennett. They also talk about the potential future of Patriots backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo and some of the big names in NFL free agency
Pete, Thornton and Price give their final thoughts and predictions for the Super Bowl.
Dale, Holley and Rich Keefe discuss NBA lottery pick Lonzo Ball with his very outspoken father Lavar Ball. The guys touch on the Celtics, his feud with his sons' high school coach, Lonzo being better than Steph Curry and much more.
Kirk, Gerry, and Alex Reimer discuss whether or not Isaiah Thomas will win a title in Boston.
Gerry, Kirk, and Trenni react to the Celtics loss against the Suns.
Joe and Tim talk with Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts after he provided the big hit in the 10th inning driving in 3 runs as the Red Sox beat the Blue Jays 4-1. Mookie talks about playing behind a pitcher like Chris Sale, and the amount of strikeouts from Sale lightens his work in the outfield.
In the final hour Christian talks about the Celtics and their poor performance and how they can not let a player like Rondo beat them. The Aaron Hernandez saga in Christian's opinion is similar to a TV show. In the late night low light a mystic has predicted that WW3 will be starting in a few weeks and Christian wonders how do you become a mystic and can you make a career out of it.
Christian talks about the Patriots visiting the White House and Gronk interrupting Sean Spicer during his press conference. Aaron Hernandez was the big story of the day and alot of people had their theories of what happened and why now. The Bruins lose another close one to the Senators and Christian talks about how the offense needs to perform better because they got a great game from the goalie and defense.
Hour 4. While discussing what kind of music Aaron Hernandez may have liked, the guys realize they hate musicals. Robert Kennedy Jr. has voice spasms. The week ends with a tragedy.
Hour 3. A game by game breakdown of the Patriots schedule. Kirk has the Patriots losing 12 games. There is breaking news that Hernandez left a note for his gay jailhouse lover.
Hour 2. Mut, Gerry, and Kirk compare LeBron to Bird. Is he the second best player of all-time if he wins a fourth title? Headlines with Kirk features sound from “Hot Chocolate.” Rear Admiral broke down the B’s playoff series with Arcand.
HOUR - The last hour of the show was all over the place as the guys did a dry rehearsal of a wacky video they're supposed to record next week. They also look at the biggest games in the NFL next year, and Fauria rips off "Keefer Madness" with his "Fauria Euphoria."
HOUR 3 - The guys get into expectations for the Celtics who are down 2-0 to the Rajon Rondo-less Bulls. They also wonder how much the Celtics are listening to Brad Stevens. Christian is excited for Caitlyn Jenner's nude spread.
HOUR 2 - News breaks that Rajon Rondo is out indefinitely with a fractured thumb. Rondo was dynamite in game 2. The guys discuss whether or not the Celtics now stand a chance.
Last two hours focused on our winter teams as they struggle in their first round match-ups.
Finish out the week on Freestyle Friday talking mostly about the Aaron Hernandez suicide and how it will affect his family in hour #2.
Hour One of freestyle Friday focused mostly on the Celtics and their matchup vs the now Rondo-less Bulls.
Kirk Minihane, Springsteen super fan, is joined by Garry W. Tallent, founding member of the E Street Band. Kirk and Garry talk about what it's like on tour with Bruce, how the band goes about selecting songs for the tour, Garry's projects away from the band, and Garry's upcoming solo tour that will bring him to the New England area.
Kirk Minihane, future radio hall of famer, sits down with current radio hall of famer Howie Carr. Kirk and Howie talk about Howie's latest book Kennedy Babylon. If you like famous people engaging in sex scandals, hard drug taking, and murder this is the podcast for you. Its a fascinating look at Boston's most famous family and the problems that took the family down.
Kirk Minihane, host and overlord of the morning show, brings Gerry Callahan and producers Chris and Ken into the studio to hear his show proposal. Kirk is thinking about making some changes to the morning show and wants to hear his crew's opinion.
Ben sits down with Diego Fagundez to talk about Diego's rise through the ranks of the academy, his accomplishment of reaching 10,000 minutes as a homegrown player, and how he has evolved his game.
Rich and Ben discuss the Celtics poor performances in Games 1 & 2, how we have to change our predictions, Rajon Rondo's thumb injury, and who is to blame for the terrible start to the series.
Ken Laird and Chris Curtis recap the entire week of K&C shows in one mega Friday edition
Michele McPhee joins Kirk, Gerry, and Alex to talk about Hernandez’s suicide and the accusation that she may have contributed to his suicide.More from this show
Hour 4. While discussing what kind of music Aaron Hernandez may have liked, the guys realize they hate musicals. Robert Kennedy Jr. has voice spasms. The week ends with a tragedy.More from this show
Hour 3. A game by game breakdown of the Patriots schedule. Kirk has the Patriots losing 12 games. There is breaking news that Hernandez left a note for his gay jailhouse lover.More from this show
Hour 1. Mut believes Hernandez may have killed himself because of a threat. Trump is “done” with Brady after the quarterback skipped the White House visit.More from this show
Hour 2. Mut, Gerry, and Kirk compare LeBron to Bird. Is he the second best player of all-time if he wins a fourth title? Headlines with Kirk features sound from “Hot Chocolate.” Rear Admiral broke down the B’s playoff series with Arcand.More from this show