There was the wave of "We can't talk about that right now ..." Wednesday at Fenway Park.
That comes with the MLB's investigation of now-former Red Sox manager Alex Cora and the organization.
But what Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom and the team's ownership group could (somewhat) discuss was where they go from here. Specifically, how exactly they are going to find Cora's replacement.
Will the team find a new manager before spring training? "Certainly the sooner the better. It’s not something we would choose in a vacuum but I don’t want to make any definitive statements on that front," said Bloom.
What type of manager will they be looking for? "I don’t like to categorize things that they are, or the age or experience level of the person is an indication of some philosophical agreement or philosophical difference with me. Obviously my past with the rays I worked with someone, he’ll probably roll his eyes to hear me say this, but over time, especially as he got some tenure on the job, became one of the older managers in baseball then worked with one of the youngest. Everyone brings different things to the table. I don’t like to categorize people or typecast people, I think it’s unfair to them. And in doing that is unfair to us. I think it’s really about the sum total of all the characteristics. There’s a lot of different ways to get the most out of players and we’re doing ourselves a disservice if we’re not taking everything into account," Bloom added.
Jason Varitek? Said Bloom, "I don’t want to get into whether we would or wouldn’t consider anybody specific. Tek is one of those guys, again a lot of people here know him better than I do. Ive been very impressed talking to him. The bond he has with the fans of this organization that speaks for itself and I know our staff thinks just as highly of him. You don’t often find people who have as distinguished a playing career and him that also has the ability to connect across a wide spectrum of people and he certainly demonstrates that."
Ron Roenicke? Bloom ... "I don’t want to comment on anybody specific because we haven’t gotten into the search, but I would say, we hold him, and I’m newer to building a relationship with him than a lot of the folks I work with but I know we hold him as a group, in a very high regard. Interactions with him have been wonderful, and again, we’re going to want to consider a number of factors but he is someone we hold in very high regard."
Perhaps the Red Sox chief decision-maker was short on specifics, but there are signs pointing toward where the team is leaning. This is what we know:
- The new manager won't be coming from Tampa Bay. With the agreement between the Red Sox and Rays after Bloom's hiring, along with the timing of the job search, there are simply too many hoops to jump through.
- Roenicke and Varitek are easy to identify as candidates, but there might be a hesitancy to hire anyone from Cora's staff, particularly with MLB's punishment and report still not complete.
- In the initial wave of names surfaced internally, veteran managers currently without jobs were firmly in the mix. We are talking veteran skippers such as Dusty Baker, Mike Scioscia, Buck Showalter and Bruce Bochy. The impetus for such a hire would clearly be to prioritize stability over the unknown. In case you haven't figured it out yet, the Red Sox aren't in the market for the unknown these days.
So, where does that leave Bloom and Co. Where it should leave them is placing that first call to Bochy.
This would undoubtedly be a long-shot, especially considering the longtime Giants skipper just told USA Today he continues to plan on hitting the "pause button" and has every intention of sitting out 2020. Bochy also has committed to manage Team France in the World Baseball Classic qualifier, which takes place in late March.
But one thing we know about the Red Sox ownership is that they aren't afraid to try and make decisions difficult. Billy Beane. Rusney Castillo. Yoan Moncada. David Price. If they really want somebody John Henry, Tom Werner and the rest of the ownership group will push enough resources to the middle of the table to change conversations.
While all the aforementioned veteran managers obviously have had their successes, Bochy stands out. He represents the no-questions-asked persona and reputation the Red Sox are starved for. He also has a pre-existing relationship with Werner and team president Sam Kennedy from their days in San Diego. That's why it would be worth it for the Red Sox to get creative.
A one-year contract worth a lot of money with two option years to be determined by Bochy. Wouldn't that cause the 64-year-old to raise at least one eyebrow?