Red Sox

Red Sox bench coach Lovullo to become Diamondbacks manager

Red Sox bench coach Lovullo to become Diamondbacks manager

For a time, it seemed as though Torey Lovullo was the manager in waiting for the Red Sox.
    
As it turns out, he'll be getting his opportunity elsewhere. Lovullo was hired Friday to manage the Arizona Diamondbacks, a baseball source  confirmed, where he'll work under general manager Mike Hazen.
    
Lovullo was expected to be the leading candidate once Hazen, with whom he had a long working relationship, was hired by the Diamondbacks last month.
    
Lovullo spent the past four years as the Red Sox' bench coach. He also served as interim manager for the Sox in 2015 for approximately seven weeks when John Farrell took a medical leave to get treatment for lymphoma.
    
Under Lovullo's watch, the Red Sox played their best baseball of the season, going 28-20. At the end of the season, uncertain of Farrell's health going forward, the Red Sox extended Lovullo's contract with a substantial raise with the provision that he not interview for managerial openings elsewhere for a year.
    
Lovullo remained effectively on retainer for the Sox in 2016,  continuing to serve as bench coach for the remainder of the season while providing the Sox with a trusted internal option in the event the team failed and Farrell was fired.
    
Once the 2016 season ended and Farrell was informed he would return for 2017 - the team has an option for 2018, too -- Lovullo's window closed.
    
The hiring of Hazen, however, offered him an opportunity elsewhere. The two first worked together in the Cleveland Indians organization -- for whom Lovullo managed at Single A, Double A and Triple A. When Hazen was put in charge of the Red Sox minor league system as director of player development, he hired Lovullo to manage Triple A Pawtucket in 2010.
    
After one season at McCoy Stadium, Lovullo went to Toronto in 2011 when Farrell was hired to manage the Blue Jays, serving as first base coach.
    
In turn, when Farrell returned to manage the Red Sox, he brought Lovullo back with him to serve as his bench coach.
    
Hazen's hiring by the Diamondbacks last month was a clear signal that Lovullo would be a leading candidate. The Diamondbacks also considered Triple A manager Phil Nevin and others, but Lovullo was the final choice by Hazen.
    
His departure leaves an opening on the Red Sox coaching staff.
    
It's possible that current third base coach and infield instructor Brian Butterfield - who has also been part of Farrell's coaching staff, either in Toronto or Boston for the past six years -- could be promoted. He served two seasons in Toronto in 2008-2009 as the Jays bench coach.
    
It's also possible that his reputation as one of the game's best teachers could mean the Sox and Farrell would prefer Butterfield to remain where he is.
    
An announcement is unlikely until next week, when Farrell returns from a trip to the Red Sox' Dominican Republic training facility.
    
News of Lovullo's hiring was first reported by Jon Heyman of FanRag.com

Merloni: Why Alex Cora could return as Red Sox manager in 2021

Merloni: Why Alex Cora could return as Red Sox manager in 2021

Alex Cora and the Boston Red Sox mutually agreed to part ways last week as a result of the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal. But is there a chance he could return as Boston's manager in 2021?

That'll depend on the length of Cora's impending suspension. The ex-Red Sox skipper is expected to receive at least a one-year ban for his role in the Astros scandal, and it could exceed that if MLB finds wrongdoing by the 2018 Red Sox in their current investigation.

The Red Sox, though, believe they'll get off scot-free. If that's the case, Cora could be a managerial candidate again in 2021 and thus a reunion with Boston would be a possibility.

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Thursday on NBC Sports Boston's "Boston Sports Tonight," Lou Merloni explained why it would make sense to hire an interim manager like bench coach Ron Roenicke for the 2020 season and then explore options -- potentially Cora -- next offseason.

To me, I don't think Chaim Bloom his first hire for a manager he goes out and hires the best of what's left ... The next manager, I don't think you want to just take what's best. You want to wait and, you know, that's why you want to go interim for a year, and then you look at a bigger pool. One that may include Alex Cora ... 

Cora's a longshot. But we've got to see what happens with the investigation. We've got to hear from him after the investigation. We've got to see how the summer goes, the PR, how Roenicke does. I think you say, 'Ron, you're the manager of the team. We'll re-evaluate at the end of the year, there's no promises, I'm not going to give you a four-year deal, and you'll be up for the job next year too. We'll see what happens.'

Given Cora's current reputation around the league for his involvement in the Astros cheating scandal, it's difficult to imagine the Red Sox bringing him back. However, owner John Henry reportedly had every intention of keeping Cora, so maybe it wouldn't be so farfetched after all.

Tomase: Handicapping the Red Sox managerial candidates

Lou Merloni: Red Sox 'believe they will [get off scot-free]'

Lou Merloni: Red Sox 'believe they will [get off scot-free]'

The Boston Red Sox are facing a lot of unexpected uncertainty at this stage in the offseason. The team fired their manager Alex Cora amid a sign-stealing scandal from his time with the Houston Astros. And now, they're searching for a replacement.

At this point in the offseason, there aren't a lot of options available. And most of the best candidates may come internally.

That said, the Red Sox will want to make sure that none of those internal candidates, namely Ron Roenicke, were involved in any sort of sign stealing during Cora's Red Sox tenure.

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And just how would they do that? Lou Merloni offered up a potential solution on NBC Sports Boston's Early Edition on Thursday night.

"What you do is you don't even name the manager," Merloni said. "You go into spring training if you have to, whenever this investigation is over. Roenicke runs the team. [Jason] Varitek has more responsibility in camp.

"And when the report comes out -- and if it's what they believe it is, that they're clean -- then Roenicke's the manager, 'Tek's the bench coach and you go from there with no promises of the future and you just say this is the way we go. I think that's the easiest transition for everyone in that locker room."

This definitely would be a sensible route for the team to take. Essentially, they can have Roenicke continue to serve as the manager without officially naming him the manager until they know the results of the investigation.

And according to Merloni, the team does believe that Roenicke and other members of their staff are clean and as a result, the team won't be punished.

"I'm hearing that they believe they are [going to get off scot-free]," Merloni said. "They believe that what they're told is true and that they didn't do anything. And if they didn't do anything, there's no reason for punishment."

It's unclear exactly when the MLB's investigation will be complete, but this will certainly be something to watch moving forward. For the time being though, the Red Sox seem content to stick with what they have provided that everything comes back clean.