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The clock still ticking on the Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  November 27, 2011 03:03 PM

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The Red Sox have now gone 58 days in their search for a manager. That is expected to end this week with the announcement that Bobby Valentine or Gene Lamont is the new man in charge.

The odds favor Valentine, although neither candidate has an offer according to our sources. Can the Sox really go two months and end up with Gene Lamont? Talk about a buzzkill.

Even presenting Valentine to the masses will be anti-climactic at this point. Most fans just seem to want this over with.

Once the deed is done, team officials will make sure you know that Terry Francona wasn't hired until Dec. 4, 2003.

"And we all know what happened then," they'll say with a grin. Or words to that effect. The implication is they knew what they were doing all along then and they do now.

But here's the truth. It took the Red Sox five weeks to hire Francona in 2003, not eight. Grady Little was canned on Oct. 28. This time around, Francona was let go (or quit, whatever you prefer) on Sept. 30.

It's somewhat inexplicable that a team could take two months to hire a manager. No question, the Theo Epstein situation sucked up a couple of weeks. But when Epstein took over in Chicago, he needed two weeks to get rid of Mike Quade and hire Dale Sveum.

Is having a GM doing his first managerial search an issue? It wasn't for St. Louis. John Mozeliak found his man, Mike Matheny, in less than two weeks.

The question is whether this a case of a team doing the full measure of research and proceeding carefully or whether the Red Sox hierarchy is so dysfunctional that making a timely decision has been impossible.

So what will happen at the trade deadline when decisions need to be made in seconds? Or the many times during a season where a roster move has to be made quickly?

There's no clock in baseball. But at some point, this delay-of-game looks pretty silly for the Red Sox.

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