A team source said a few minutes ago that the Red Sox have not selected their next manager. But the plan remains to name somebody this week and that could be a compromise in the form of Gene Lamont.
There is a philosophical tug-of-war going on at Fenway Park and John Henry will be the one who has to decide it.
Bobby Valentine has met or spoken with the Red Sox numerous times, the last contact being a lengthy phone conversation a few days after his formal interview on Nov. 21. But as of Sunday night, there had not been any communication since.
If there was consensus that he was the man, this would be done by now.
Ben Cherington and the baseball operations staff clearly wanted Dale Sveum. After a lengthy search that included five interviews, he was the only candidate presented to ownership. And this was after Cherington met with Bobby Valentine the first time.
The owners were not enamored with Sveum. After meeting with him for two and half hours on Nov. 16, no job offer was extended. Within a few minutes of that meeting, Red Sox officials made it clear that Valentine was in play.
But Lamont remained in the mix, meeting with the owners last week. He remains alive as a viable alternative.
Lamont is the safe choice and Valentine the risky one. Lamont has experience and is unlikely to do anything to embarrass the organization. He is a team player organizationally and won’t stand in the way of winning.
The question is whether this team needs more than that, especially in a division with such dynamic mangers as Joe Maddon, Buck Showalter, Joe Girardi and John Farrell.
Valentine is his own man and could make a deeper imprint on the team. He will provide leadership and fresh ideas. But he will rock the boat on occasion, anger some players and he won’t be afraid to say what he thinks to the media.
You can make a case that Valentine is exactly what the moribund Red Sox need. This team hasn’t won a playoff game since 2008. What they’re doing isn’t working.
You can also make a case that Valentine would only make things worse. Veteran players could rebel and his relationship with Cherington could sour.
Valentine has a much higher ceiling than Lamont as a manager but but brings infinitely more risk of it not working out.
It’s not an easy choice. But eventually the Red Sox will have to make it.