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.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price explain how the Patriots held off the Jets, 17-16, Sunday at MetLife Stadium to improve to 12-3 and lock up a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs.
Greg and Steve give their final thoughts and predictions for what is about to go down at MetLife Stadium today.
Curran calls the guys to discuss the game today and gets into the effect of having no Edelman. He talks about Amendola's role, the Pats running game and more.
Jackie MacMullen, ESPN Boston, talks with MFB about Rondo being traded to the Dallas Mavericks, and how this will have an effect on the Celtics rebuild process
How have the Celtics looked after a couple weeks? Could they be a playoff team? These questions and more...
Sam and Ben talk with Greg Dickerson about how fun this year's Celtics team is to watch as well Jeff Green trade ideas.
Mut, Rob, and Alex talk with former Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester. Jon talks about his experiences with free agency, what it would have taken to sign him to the Red Sox last season, and his experiences with fans since signing with the Cubs.
Mut, Rob, and Alex talk with newly signed Red Sox pitcher, Wade Miley. They talk about the story that came out about the D-Backs wanting him to switch to a gluten-free diet, and what he expects coming from the N.L. West to the A.L. East.
The boys are back at it, Mut, Rob, and Alex talk with former Red Sox pitcher and new Chicago Cub Jon Lester, they then talk with new Red Sox pitcher and ongoing consumer of gluten, Wade Miley.
Pierre joins the show to talk about the Bruins-Wild game, Bruins trade rumors, and the rest of the NHL.
Jack Edwards talks with Dale, Michael and Jerry Thornton and drops the bomb on us that based on how the standings look now, the Bruins could miss the playoffs this season.
Pierre joins the guys to talk about the Bruins and all things NHL
Curtis spoke with some nut jobs outside the courtroom.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
Jeff Goodman discussed the Rondo trade.
Christian quizzes Lou and Tim on which songs were used for torture by the CIA, and Tim is upset he couldn't remember Team America: World Police
Adam Schefter, ESPN, joins MFB to discuss Jim Harbaugh rumors, Rex Ryan's future, and why the Patriots may be better served by not wraping up the number one seed in the AFC this week
Christian shares what he believes will be the three keys to this Sunday's game against the New York Jets
We check in with the playmaker, the hall of famer Michael Irvin for a look at the NFL and all things Patriots as they prepare to face the Jets.
Dale and Michael discuss the trade of Rajon Rondo, and whether it ultimately was a good deal for the Celtics.
We break down Rex and the Jets vs the Patriots with CSNNE's Tom E Curran
Kay comes into the show to try out for the textress role on the program. We learn about her favorite sports and fondness for Rajon Rondo.
Mikey, Mut, Lenny and Kerry Byrne are taling Patriots-Jets and the potential end of Rex Ryan's coaching career with the team.
Tonight marks 9 straight years of the Planet Mikey Show. We play some sound from the takeover which got Planet Mikey rolling .
Jen Royle joins the show to talk about The Taste and what its like working with amazing chefs and how her personality is going over with viewers.
What should Danny Ainge do with these Celtics? Is Anthony Davis the second best player in the NBA? Are the Warriors truly contenders?
Ryan Lambert of Puck Daddy joins DJ to discuss the "uncoachable(?)" Taylor Hall and revisit the Tyler Seguin trade. Ryan also shares his issues with how the Bruins are run.
Twas the Saturday before Christmas, Rooke and Scott Cordischi in the house taking your calls, texts tweets and emails (not so much). Listeners sound off on the week's best topics. An annual RI DIV I Tourney, Mr Rondo goes to Dallas and celebrating the plethora of Christmas tunesMore from this show