BOSTON -- The Red Sox continued their managerial search Wednesday, bringing in Sandy Alomar Jr. He is the third candidate the Sox have interviewed, with two more scheduled for later this week.
Alomar, 45, just completed his second season as a coach for the Indians. Cleveland hired him in November 2009 as first-base coach, and at the end of the 2011 season he was promoted to bench coach when Tim Tolman resigned due to health issues. Alomar was also the Mets major-league catching instructor in 2008 and 2009.
Alomar caught 1,324 games (starting 1,203) during his playing career, which spanned parts of 20 seasons before his retirement in 2007, with the Indians, White Sox, Padres, Mets, Rockies, Dodgers, and Rangers. He was a six-time All-Star and the American League Rookie of the Year in 1990.
For Alomar -- whose brother Robbie was inducted into the Hall of Fame this year and whose father played for 15 seasons and was a major-league coach for the Cubs, Rockies, Padres (where he coached his two sons) and Mets -- his biggest challenge is likely to be his lack of managerial experience. He also interviewed last year for the Blue Jays' manager job that went to former Sox pitching coach John Farrell.
Asked what he sees as his biggest challenge in the job, Alomar replied:
Well, I think communicating would be great for me. I would have that gift with me. I feel like I would basically earn their respect right away . . .
"Me, as a player, when I would see a new manager . . . I wanted to understand this guy first. I want to see what hes all about. I want to see if he follows his protocols. Thats what I did when I was a player. But I was a guy that I think I was a manager's dream didnt complain about nothing. I was out there and I just wanted to play baseball. Thats all I did. I wanted to play baseball, try to have fun, try to win games, and never disrespect the manager. So I expect the guys to do the same thing for a manager."
But although there will be challenges, Alomar feels that he has qualities that will be beneficial to whatever team he manages.
I have played many years at this level, Alomar said. I have great managerial people that I played for. In fact, I played for nine managers and all nine managers that I played for have participated or managed in the postseason and six out of the nine have reached the World Series and two of those six have won the World Series. So I have learned a tremendous amount of baseball from that kind of people. My fathers been very influential in my career and in the coaching department. And I feel like I can help an organization.
General manager Ben Cherington began his career with the Indians in 1998, as a video advance scout.That season was Alomars ninth with the Indians, and his sixth and final as an All-Star.
As we were doing research on candidates his name kept coming up, Cherington said. I knew of Sandy. I was actually with Sandy. He didn't know who I was in 98 in Cleveland but I saw him in the clubhouse. I was in the clubhouse all the time. But I saw the leader he was back then, the respect he had in the clubhouse. So Ive sort of been following him since then and then the research we did more recently on candidates, his name just kept coming up as a guy that has a ton of respect in the baseball community, incredible talent, instincts for the game, awareness. That family just knows baseball better than most other families do.
So we felt, despite the lack of managing experiencing, it was worth getting to know him better. Hes going to be a major-league manager. Whether thats in 2012 or sometime after that, Im very confident to say that hell be a big-league manager sometime.
Alomar is highly regarded throughout baseball.
We got a remarkable level of respect for him in clubhouses from players based on what he did as a player and also with the evolution of his career, Cherington said. Being an All-Star, everyday catcher to being a backup catcher and kind of filling almost a dual role as backup catchercoach during the last few years of his career. So a lot of respect for him in clubhouses. He sees the game really well. The game simulation exercise in the interview process went really well. Hes clearly, despite not managing in a game, sees the game much like a manager does. So it was a great opportunity to get to know him and hes an impressive guy.
His catching career would be a benefit to him as a manager, Alomar believes.
I think that I can handlea pitching staff, he said. I would delegate a lot to my staff. I dont think I know it all but I think delegating to a staff is good, getting the proper staff to help you. But I think I can work with a staff, recognize talent. Theres a lot of things that I feel Ive been blessed with as my brother was that no other people can see. So the only weakness that I have, to be honest with you right now, is that I havent managed at any level. Thats the main concern for everybody. But I have managed myself, I have managed others throughout my career, I have helped many people with leadership. And I feel like I could do it.
Of the current five candidates for the job, Alomar is the only one who has not managed at any level. He knows moving directly into a major league managers job would be a big jump.
Well, itd be a big jump anywhere at the major league level and Boston is a different market. Yeah, I understand that, he said. But anywhere you manage is going to be a big step. I think that some people take different routes. I chose this way. Ive learned a tremendous amount. I feel like Im prepared to manage a major league team even though I didnt manage in the minor leagues.
Alomar appeared in 48 games at Fenway Park during his career, which gives him a degree of preparation, he believes.
When you play against teams like this, like Boston, New York and you go to big cities, it brings the best out of you, he said. I had an opportunity to play a lot of postseason here with the Cleveland Indians and, man, the fans here bring it, a lot of excitement. You got to come ready here, just like it was in Cleveland when we had the 40,000-plus for 450-something sold-out games. You have to come and bring it. You cant lay back here. You have to come and play.
The Sox interviewed Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin and Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum last week, and are scheduled to meet with Blue Jays first base coach Torey Lovullo on Friday and Tigers bench coach Gene Lamont Saturday. Both Lovullo and Lamont have worked in the Sox organization previously. Lamont was the third-base coach of the 2001 big league team, and Lovullo managed Triple-A Pawtucket in 2010.
Cherington said at this point he has no plans to bring in additional candidates, but also did not rule it out.
I feel my job in this is to identify a very small short list of people that I think could be a fit for us, he said. I may have a personal preference on who the next manager is but then give as much information as I can to ownership. They clearly have an important voice in this decision and they need to be comfortable with the decision as much as I am so in the end when we start to narrow the list down. I think itll be more collaborative at that point. To this point its been more my effort on getting to know the candidates. As we get to the next level theyll get more involved.
Sox presidentCEO Larry Lucchino has met with all the candidates so far, with principal owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner likely becoming involved in a potential second round. Cherington said he has not set up an additional round of interviews for the general managers meetings, which begin Monday in Milwaukee, but said its possible.