Compared to earlier managerial searches conducted by the ownership team of HenryWernerLucchino, the Red Sox are flying under the radar in their hunt for a new skipper this year.
No media availability for the candidates. No comments from management. Nothing, really, to even indicate that they're in the market for a new manager.
But at least one Red Sox player -- who spoke to Comcast SportsNet's Mike Giardi on the condition of anonymity -- is impressed, at least with the quality of the field.
"Last year, there were a bunch of guys I didn't know or care about," he told Giardi, referring to the early part of the search when the Sox focused on a field of low-profile candidates (Dale Sveum, Sandy Alomar Jr., Pete Mackanin, etc.). "This year, when I saw the names, I was excited. These guys are well-respected."
(That great respect for Ausmus, Wallach and Pena, incidentally, is "unlike how he felt about the guy they hired last year", Bobby Valentine.)
"I can call any one of my friends on other teams and ask them about Tim Wallach or Tony Pena or Brad Ausmus, and they've got nothing but good things to say, or heard nothing but good things. How can you not like that, after last winter's expletive?"
But he's not as impressed with management's presumed favorite, current Blue Jays manager and former Sox pitching coach John Farrell.
"He's a hell of a pitching coach, but did you see Toronto play this year? They were as lost as we were.
"Losing Jose Bautista was like us losing David Ortiz, but they didn't gut their team at the deadline (and still finished only four games ahead of the Sox). And what happened to their pitching staff? Isn't that Farrell's strength? He can't make 'em make the pitch, but isn't that the expectation here? Whatever."
(EDITOR'S NOTE: To be fair to Farrell, the Blue Jays suffered a wave of pitching injuries -- Drew Hutchinson, Dustin McGowan, Jesse Litsch, Brandon Morrow, Kyle Drabek, Robert Coello -- that severely impacted the staff.)
"I'm pretty sure those guys were in more of a hurry to end the season than we were. Did you see how fast they went in the expletive? That was a step backward."