|Bobby Valentine in one of his finest moments as Mets manager|
The former Mets skipper met with Boston hierarchy as new general manager Ben Cherington continues the process of looking for a replacement for Terry Francona, who left after the epic Red Sox collapse at the end of last season along with GM Theo Epstein.
Valentine, 61, has not managed in the majors since leaving the Mets in 2002, and Cherington told reporters yesterday he still has more work to do before settling on a manager.
“This has always been a choice that I’m going to make with ownership,” Cherington said.
Valentine reportedly is the favorite among ownership, which values previous big league managerial experience. That could be why the Red Sox didn’t rush to hire Dale Sveum, who was interviewed but landed with Epstein and the Cubs last week.
“If I was Plan B and I got this job I would feel like it’s Christmas and I was Plan A, the luckiest guy in the world,” Valentine said. “It would be cool. It’s really kind of cool that I’m sitting here.”
Tigers third base coach Gene Lamont is expected to meet with Red Sox ownership this week, and Blue Jays first base coach Torey Lovullo is on the list, so Cherington’s goal of having a manager in place by Thanksgiving won’t be met. But the team would like to name someone before the Winter Meetings begin Dec. 5.
“This is a great organization with a great team, a great city and great ballpark,” Valentine said. “That is very attractive. I don’t think anywhere else that there’s been a job opening that my name has been mentioned there have been as many fabulous factors. I’m honored to be part of the group.”
That group no longer includes Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr., who has been eliminated from consideration. Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin already had been removed.
Valentine admitted how much he wanted the job.
“I’m really excited about this, and I haven’t been as nervous for anything in a long, long time,” Valentine said. “It was invigorating, stimulating and all those good things.”
If Valentine gets the job, he will have his work cut out for him. Not only did the Red Sox blow a seemingly sure playoff spot with their late-season swoon, but it was later reported some players occasionally drank beer and ate fried chicken in the clubhouse during games.