Sandy Alomar Jr. brings an interesting quality to his bid to become the next manager of the Red Sox — he’s never managed before.
When Alomar retired as a player after the 2007 season, it was with the goal of becoming a manager. But instead of taking the traditional path of going down to the minor leagues and gaining experience, he remained in the majors as a coach, believing that would best prepare him.
“Some people take different routes. I choose this way,” said Alomar, who interviewed at Fenway Park today. “I learned tremendously on my own. I feel like I’m prepared to manage a major league team.”
His decision will eventually pay off. Alomar is widely respected within the game for his presence and baseball acumen. He was a finalist with the Blue Jays last fall and this year the Sox and Cubs are considering him now.
“He’s an impressive guy,” general manager Ben Cherington said. “Lot of respect for him in clubhouses. He sees the game really well. … Despite not managing a game, he sees the game very much like a manager does. It was a great opportunity to get to know him.
“He’s going to be a major league manager in 2012 or sometime after that.”
The Red Sox have already interviewed Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin and Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum. Blue Jays first base coach Torey Lovullo, the former manager of Class AAA Pawtucket, is scheduled for Friday with Detroit third base coach Gene Lamont set for Saturday.
The new manager is almost sure to be one of those five.
“Wouldn’t rule out adding another person. But there are no plans to,” Cherington said. “Our hope as we get into next week and the GM Meetings would be to narrow that down some, still with the goal of having somebody in place before Thanksgiving.”
Cherington said he would present a “very small, short list” of candidates to the owners.
“I may have a personal preference on who the next manager is,” he said. “[The owners] clearly have an important voice in this decision.”
Team president Larry Lucchino has been involved with the interview process. Principal owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner have yet to meet any of the candidates.
Lamont was a late addition to the group when Cherington decided he wanted to consider somebody with lengthy major league managerial experience. Lamont was 553-562 with the White Sox and Pirates but hasn’t managed since 2000.
Cherington was a young video advance scout in Cleveland in 1998 when Alomar played there.
“He didn’t know who I was,” Cherington said, “But I saw him in the clubhouse. I was in the clubhouse all the time and I saw the leader he was back then and the respect he had in that clubhouse. I’ve been following him since then.”
Indians GM Chris Antonetti, who has given Cherington advice on searching for a manager, highly recommended Alomar.
Alomar doesn’t seem too concerned about the idea of becoming a manager for the first team, when in Boston.
“It would be a big jump anywhere in the major league level,” said the 45-year-old Alomar, who readily admitted that lack of experience is his weakness as a candidate. “But Boston is a [tough] market, I understand that. Anywhere you manage is going to be a big step for you.”
Alomar, Cherington said, performed well on the game simulations that are part of the interview. The Red Sox also value his leadership and communication ability.
“Earn their respect right away,” Alomar said when asked how he would proceed as manager. “They want to see what you’re going to do. People see how you behave.”
Alomar said he was “overwhelmed” with the opportunity to interview with the Red Sox.
“Man, the fans here bring it,” he said. “There’s a lot of excitement. You have to come ready to play here.”