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SAN FRANCISCO — The Red Sox had a chance to hire a hot managerial prospect in Brad Ausmus but elected to go with the more established and familiar John Farrell.
Someone likely soon will scoop up Ausmus, a Cheshire, Conn., native, because he was born to manage. But it won’t be in the city he wanted to manage in more than any other, at least not now.
“Of course I’m disappointed,” Ausmus said Sunday. “But it’s part of the business and part of the game. I enjoyed being mentioned with the group of people who they considered for the job and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting with [GM] Ben [Cherington] and his staff. They’re a great group of guys.
“You never know, six, seven, eight years from now we could find ourselves in different organizations and maybe even working together. It didn’t happen this time, but I enjoyed my experience.”
Ausmus, 43, said he interviewed for the Astros job because he was a longtime player for the organization, but he said he withdrew his name “for personal reasons.” When the Boston opportunity came along, it was the one situation that really got him excited.
“I grew up a Red Sox fan, I still have family in New England, and I own a house on the Cape, so there was a special connection there,” Ausmus said. “The Red Sox are a special organization, one that’s near and dear to my heart because they were my team growing up. To have a chance to interview for a job like that is one I really looked forward to and was so thankful to be able to meet with those guys.”
Ausmus was certainly aware that Farrell was the No. 1 target, but that didn’t deter him.
“I didn’t even consider that,” he said. “I went in hoping to earn the job. You always go into an interview with that mind-set. You try to put your best out there, try to present yourself in a certain way and tell them what you believe in, and that’s what I tried to do.”
Ausmus also indicated that only the managerial job was discussed with him. He said the topic of bench coach never came up.
Although Ausmus wouldn’t get into any specifics of what he said to the Red Sox, a team source said Ausmus “was outstanding.” There was nothing not to like about the former All-Star catcher, but Cherington had it in his head for two years that Farrell was the guy.
While Ausmus would not reveal who was in the room during his interview, the Red Sox generally had Cherington, Larry Lucchino, Allard Baird, Mike Hazen, Brian O’Halloran, and David Finley in on parts or all of the interviews.
At least two of the candidates indicated that former Sox catcher Jason Varitek was not involved in the interview process.
Ausmus was apparently very detailed both verbally and with written material. According to one report, he had his entire coaching staff set. Ausmus apparently had thought this through as well as any candidate the Sox have ever had. He was gracious in defeat.
“I had always heard so many good things about John Farrell,” Ausmus said. “He’s an outstanding choice and he’ll do a great job for them.”
Ausmus said he will go back to being a special assistant to general manager Josh Byrnes for the Padres. He will attend their organizational meetings Monday. But there may not be another opportunity for Ausmus quite like this one.
There had been speculation the Rockies might pursue him. But there have been no rumblings in Toronto about perhaps snatching the guy the Red Sox passed up.
Ausmus said he’s not one to pursue jobs, but he will listen if a team approaches him. He said he’s been very happy working for the Padres and is able to focus on a number of things, including scouting and instruction.
He’s also a family man who values his time with his kids.
But when I asked him a few weeks ago about the Boston job after Bobby Valentine was fired, he said, “That’s the one job that would get me off my couch.”
The Red Sox brought him 3,000 miles from his San Diego home, but in the end they gave the job to their No. 1 choice — Farrell.
“I don’t lose in this,” Ausmus said. “I got to meet with some very nice and great baseball people in the Red Sox front office and got to interview for a job I felt very strongly about. I enjoy my work with the Padres and the good news is I’ll keep working and keep learning and trying to experience different things that can only make me better-equipped to handle whatever comes my way.”
Could he have been the next Mike Matheny or Robin Ventura? The next Tony La Russa?
Boston decided to pass on the chance to find out.