Red Sox

Dombrowski must aim high in search for a new manager

Dombrowski must aim high in search for a new manager

BOSTON — As the Red Sox enter their managerial search, the braintrust needs to step back and remember something they may be oddly forgetting.

They have an opening to manage the Boston Red Sox. 

This franchise has no trouble underscoring its national relevance, its sacred position in the sport, in any of its marketing devices. Have you heard Fenway Park is historic?

People want this job. People with other jobs right now want this job. They must. And even if they somehow don’t, it’s on the Red Sox to find out either way.

THE RED SOX FIRE JOHN FARRELL

Brad Ausmus, Alex Cora or Ron Gardenhire could be excellent managers. But Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski must aim as high as possible. Dombo must conduct his due diligence on sitting managers who are currently under contract and may be interested to take the reins. 

“Well, current managers are employed by other organizations, so you generally don't talk to them,” Dombrowski said Wednesday. “I wouldn't get into specifics on that, but generally you don't interview other peoples' managers, generally.”

Generally, folks. This isn’t a general opening, in a general town with a general franchise. It's the opposite.

The Giants' Bruce Bochy’s got a losing team and all the credentials in the world. The Marlins' Don Mattingly can’t be excited about a rebuild, and he’s got big-market experience. The Astros' A.J. Hinch has been an excellent communicator with a progressive front office and played for Dave Dombrowski in Detroit. Kevin Cash is no stranger to Boston or a young roster. Maybe Mike Matheny is ready to move on from the mid-market life.

Bob Melvin just signed an extension with Oakland, so that might be tough. They'd all be tough.

But you can sell this thing. You have to try, if you’re the Red Sox. It sells itself. Best sports town in the country, right

The Sox have a win-now roster with immediate championship potential and the presumed wherewithal to spend some money this winter (even though Dombrowski didn’t detail those plans Wednesday). For the right communicator, the right tactician — and let’s face it, the right politician — there may be no greater challenge, no greater test of skill than to come to Boston and help a clubhouse in need of guidance get over the hump.

Dombrowski is the sure-thing president, the known-commodity GM. He loves star power. Why would his managerial search be any different? Why would Dombrowski limit himself to managers who are only free agents — those who have been recently let go, or who have never had the job before — in this search? The Sox are in a competitive window, and Dombrowski’s on a five-year deal.

Respect in the clubhouse for a new manager would be instantly raised if the Sox pried away a big name. Fan excitement, fan buy-in could improve too. Instant acceptance on talk radio never hurt.

“I think managerial [experience] helps,” Dombrowski said. “I don't think it's of 100 percent necessity. But I think being in a dugout during a game, seeing what the manager encounters is probably helpful, yeah, I do think it is. I do think it would be difficult for a person more so here than in some other places to walk directly onto the field without some on-field managerial experience at some level or big-league coaching.”

There’s experience, and then there’s experience.

John Farrell should actually be a blueprint, in one way. The Sox had to trade with the Blue Jays to get him.

Do it again. Figure out, maybe with back-channel inquiries if need be, who would seriously want to come to Boston. Be prepared to pay the manager what they need to take on the circus of Boston. The money will be a drop in the bucket compared to the player salaries anyway.

Then, approach the team where the manager is currently employed. The club probably won’t want to stand in the way of a manager who genuinely wants to leave for a rare opportunity. If they do, well, you tried. But be prepared to make an offer that gets your man.

Dombrowski didn’t get creative with the roster and the luxury tax threshold in 2017. He can get creative now. Think outside the box. And do what he does best: go big.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

The Baseball Show Podcast: Should Red Sox consider trading Devers for Machado?

The Baseball Show Podcast: Should Red Sox consider trading Devers for Machado?

0:23 - Should the Red Sox consider trading Rafael Devers for free-agent-to-be Manny Machado? Lou Merloni and Evan Drellich debate if it would be worth it for Boston to give up their young third baseman for a half-season of Machado.

4:57 - With the win over the Mariners on Sunday, the Red Sox are 49-24  and in a virtual tie with the Yankees for first place in the AL East. Eduardo Rodriguez had another great outing on Sunday and is now 9-1. Merloni and Drellich discuss Rodriguez continued success on the mound.

8:12 - In his past seven starts, David Price has a 2.64 ERA with a 1.04 WHIP. Merloni and Drellich talk about how Price has been dominant since coming back from carpal tunnel and if he can continue this type of pitching. 

LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Three homers and Eduardo Rodriguez power Red Sox past Mariners, 9-3

Three homers and Eduardo Rodriguez power Red Sox past Mariners, 9-3

 

SEATTLE - The Red Sox' offense showed why it is one of the best in baseball.

Rafael Devers, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Xander Bogaerts all homered and the Boston Red Sox routed the Seattle Mariners 9-3 on Sunday.

"Today we did an outstanding job finishing the game and we got the W," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. "We are a good team. We know how to play the game and we turn the page really quick."

Devers' 11th homer of the season capped a five-run, two-out rally in the third against Seattle starter Mike Leake (7-4).

"They were making it tough today," Leake said. "They weren't giving me any breaks today."

Andrew Benintendi and Bogaerts began Boston's rally with a pair of singles. J.D. Martinez drew a nine-pitch walk to load the bases before Mitch Moreland drove in two with a single to centerfield, his first hit of the series, and Devers followed with a blast off the Hit It Here Cafe in right field to give Boston a 5-0 lead.

"Anytime you can put up a five-spot in the inning, you are happy with it," Moreland said. "That was a good inning for us."

The Red Sox pulled away in the seventh against right-handed reliever Chasen Bradford, who gave up three runs and two homers while getting two outs.

Bradley Jr. sent Bradford's first pitch over the centerfield wall for his fourth home run this season. Benintendi hit his third single of the game with one out before Bogaerts put Boston ahead 8-2 with a shot into the bullpen in left centerfield, his 12th of the season and fourth of the series.

Facing former Red Sox left-hander Roenis Elias in the eighth, Benintendi extended Boston's lead to 9-2 with a sacrifice fly to center.

The Sox have hit three or more home runs 10 times this season, and are 36-7 when scoring five or more runs.

Boston starter Eduardo Rodriguez picked up his sixth straight win in as many starts, allowing two runs on six hits while striking out nine. Rodriguez (9-1) has allowed two or fewer runs in each of his starts during his winning streak, and the Red Sox are 13-1 in Rodriguez's starts this season.

"It was really good," Rodriguez said of his start. "All of my pitches were working. It was really great."

The Mariners loaded the bases with no outs for the heart of their order against Rodriguez in the fifth, but managed just one run. Jean Segura cut Seattle's deficit to 5-2 with a fielder's choice, but Seattle's rally was cut short following back-to-back fly outs from Mitch Haniger and Nelson Cruz.

"He had to work for it that fifth inning but he limited the damage," Cora said. ". He did a good job. Good fastball. He was more aggressive in the strike zone."

Cruz hit his 17th home run of the season in the fourth, sending a 3-2 fastball from Martinez 442 feet to the upper deck in left field to trim Seattle's deficit to 5-1. Cruz has homered five times in his last nine games.

In the eighth, Ryon Healy doubled down the left field line, scoring Cruz to make it 9-3.

The Red Sox improved to 18-5 in series finales, and have won five consecutive day games on the road.

UP NEXT
Red Sox: Chris Sale (6-4, 2.75 ERA) takes the mound as the Red Sox continue their road trip against the Twins on Tuesday. Sale has allowed just one run in each of his last two starts and has nine starts this season allowing one or fewer earned runs.

© 2018 by Associated Press.