The Red Sox Edge Ever Closer To Hiring A Manager

Manager Bobby Valentine of the New York Mets gives a thumbs up during a game against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo By Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Of the three major league managing jobs recently opened, two have been filled, with the Cardinals hiring Mike Matheny and the Cubs Dale Sveum.

Only the Boston Red Sox remain managerless as we rest up from Thursday's Thanksgiving dinners. The Cubs and Red Sox interviewed many of the same men for their positions and some wags joked that the Cubs should simply hire two of them and give one to Boston for the compensation still owed for Chicago's hiring of Theo Epstein.

Humor aside, Alex Speier of WEEI Radio in Boston writes that the Red Sox appear to be down to finalists, and perhaps as few as two:

According to a team source, the Red Sox owners met with Tigers third base coach Gene Lamont earlier this week. He and ESPN broadcaster Bobby Valentine are the two managerial candidates who have met with team owners in the second round of the interview process. As of now, the source said, there are no plans to conduct further interviews (either with Blue Jays first base coach Torey Lovullo or with another candidate), though as the late emergence of Valentine in the process suggests, such a possibility cannot be dismissed entirely.

Speier speculates that Valentine and Lamont are the two finalists, with Lovullo now a longshot.

Valentine last managed in the major leagues in 2002, when he was fired after a disappointing season for the Mets, who he had managed to consecutive postseason appearances in 1999 and 2000. He has also managed in Japan and overall has 15 major league seasons as a manager.

Lamont has also been out of managing for quite some time; he last managed in 2000, when he completed the last of four losing seasons heading the Pirates. He also managed the White Sox, who won the AL West on his watch in 1993.

Speier says the Red Sox are "likely" to announce a hiring next week, before MLB's Winter Meetings, which begin the following week. Either hire would be a departure for Boston; while Terry Francona, recently let go by the Red Sox, is now viewed as a top manager with considerable success, at the time he was hired his experience consisted of four losing seasons heading the Phillies.

As always, we await developments.

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