Red Sox need to be Honest...
posted at 10/16/2012 5:44 PM EDT
exactly what i said last week about the culture of secrecy that's becoming the trademark of this failed organization...
The Red Sox do not owe their managing job to Tim Wallach or Tony Pena or anybody else, but they do owe each of their official candidates one thing.
Maybe that is being delivered to the nominees, who now number at least four. Wallach, Pena, DeMarlo Hale and Brad Ausmus have either been interviewed or are expected to go through the process.
If a report by the Boston Globe's Peter Abraham has any teeth, however, the Red Sox are in danger of dancing the same fandango they displayed last year.
That is when several candidates were paraded in and out of Boston (and in front of media), only to learn that Bobby Valentine was at the end of the conga line and would get the job.
The Globe report says the Red Sox still want John Farrell, the Toronto manager who made his mark as Boston pitching coach from 2000-2010.
According to "major league sources,'' in the Abraham story, Farrell tops the list - assuming the Red Sox can persuade the Blue Jays to release Farrell before his contract expires at the end of 2013.
That could depend on whether Red Sox president Larry Lucchino can "broker an agreement'' with Paul Beeston, the president of the Blue Jays.
Shades of last year, when the interviews wound up looking like a warmup act before Valentine was brought on stage.
Gene Lamont in particular seemed to be left hanging. Most analysts did not expect Lamont to be the man, but he apparently expected at least to be told, one way or the other.
Dale Sveum got so far as to dine with the owners and receive the support of general manager Ben Cherington. Not good enough, the owners said.
Sveum went to the Cubs, where everyone says he was one of the few brights spots on a team that knew it was terrible and needed time (and the right manager, which they still think is him) to get better.
Having learned something from last year's mistakes, the Red Sox want their search to move forward expediently.
That is hard to do with Farrell, given his contract status. The easy solution would be to cross Farrell off the list, but Boston won't do that if he is No. 1 on the list.
Meanwhile, the other candidates presumably want to believe they are not wasting their time. According to ESPN.com, Wallach said he was confident the Red Sox viewed him as "a serious candidate.''
It says something about the process that this question must even be asked.
If Lucchino is truly involved with Beeston, or about to be, the Red Sox president's Rasputin-like influence behind the scenes is still part of the show.
Valentine was Lucchino's idea, too. Red Sox fans should hope that if Farrell is Lucchino's choice now, he is also Cherington's.
If not, the general manager could be stuck with a manager that was not of his choosing, an awkward situation that Valentine and Cherington (though not Lucchino) spent all summer working out.
The Red Sox handled the process poorly last year, and not just because it was Valentine who was picked.
They have learned not to dawdle. Left unproven is whether they have learned how to interview candidates with candor and integrity, as opposed to dragging them to Boston when someone entirely different is waiting in the wings.
If they haven't, they could add to a growing and disturbing reputation as an organization that deals in deception and not truth, and is therefore best avoided.
That will not only hurt them in future searches, but it's unnecessary and just plain wrong.
Maybe they are negotiating in an upfront, straightforward manner with the candidates. A person has to be in the conference room to know that.
All but one will be turned down. If Farrell gets the job, all of them will be turned down.
There are ways of doing that honorably and with good business practice, and ways of doing it with a convenient disregard for the people who have come to you in good faith.
For reasons of good business and also of principle, let's hope the Red Sox choose the right path, whether Farrell is waiting backstage for his intro or not.