Sox' managerial choice will reveal level of trust in Cherington

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Sox' managerial choice will reveal level of trust in Cherington

Almost nine weeks after it began, the Red Sox managerial search is wheezing to a close.

Sometime before the end of the week -- but not Tuesday, despite a report to the contrary on Monday night -- the team expects to unveil its replacement for Terry Francona. That the two lone remaining candidates for the job are Bobby Valentine and Gene Lamont , each improbable finalists in his own way, is a somehow fiting conclusion to a bizarre process.

Baseball sources indicated that Toronto Blue Jays first base coach Torey Lovullo has been eliminated from consideration. That much seemed already obvious when Lovullo was not invited to meet with ownership following his initial interview.

That leaves the Sox to choose between Lamont and Valentine, who beyond their ages (Valentine is 61 while Lamont will soon turn 65) and their major league experience (Valentine has managed 15 years in the big leagues; Lamont has 8 seasons under his belt) couldn't be more different.

Where Valentine is loquacious and highly opinionated, Lamont is resolved and unassuming. Where Valentine can be confrontational, Lamont is more likely to resolve issues quietly.

Initially, neither was on general manager Ben Cherington's short list of candidates for the position. That initial group included Sandy Alomar Jr., Mike Maddux, Pete Mackanin and Dale Sveum.

When Maddux ruled himself out of the Boston search, Cherington added Lovullo and Lamont. Of Lamont in particular, Cherington said he wanted to include someone with more major-league experience and Lamont got glowing reviews from a number of people throughout the game as an experienced hand in the dugout.

In retrospect, it may well be that Lamont was added as a concession to the owners, who voiced a desire to have candidates with more experience.

Of course, the owners already had a veteran manager of their own in mind -- Valentine -- though one that they weren't ready to acknowledge publicly.

The public perception has been that Valentine is the choice of both principal owner John Henry -- who has known Valentine for better than a decade -- and team president Larry Lucchino, while Lamont is the compromise choice of Cherington and the baseball operations staff.

If that's the case, the eventual hire will be revealing. If Valentine is the choice, it will signal that ownership took control of the managerial search and imposed their choice on Cherington.

Should Lamont be the hire, it would signal a willingness on Cherington's part to buck ownership's recommendation, and, in turn, a show of faith on by ownership that Cherington can be trusted to make such a decision, even if it's at odds with ownership's preference.

That alone marks a potentially fascinating subtext to a search process which has had more twists and unpredictable turns that anyone could have imagined when it began two months ago.

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

Among the reactions to the news that Bobby Valentine was possibly being considered to be the US amassador to Japan in President Donald Trump’s administration was this beauty from Kevin Youkilis. 

Valentine famously called out Youkilis early in his stormy tenure as Red Sox manager in 2012. Remember? "I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Bobby V said of Youk at the time. 

The Red Sox traded Youkilis to the White Sox for two not-future Hall of Famers, outfielder Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart, later that season.

Youkilis, now Tom Brady’s brother-in-law by the way, had a 21-game stint playing in Japan in 2014 before retiring from baseball. 

 

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer.  And…

US ambassador to Japan?

Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.

The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons. 

When asked by the New York Daily News if he's being considered for the post, Valentine responded: "I haven't been contacted by anyone on Trump's team." 

Would he be interested?

"I don't like to deal in hypotheticals," Valentine told the Daily News.

Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, sources told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. 

Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California.