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BOSTON (CBS) – The Red Sox managerial search that ultimately landed them Bobby Valentine as their new skipper was a highly collaborative process, the team says, not a power play by team president Larry Lucchino.
“I understand the perception; it’s just not true in this case,” general manager Ben Cherington told WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche after Valentine’s introductory press conference. “I met with Bobby before the GM meetings in Milwaukee… I was working with him in mind as a candidate at that time.”
“I think it shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how things operate around here. We are a highly collaborative organization and we are aggressively collaborative,” said Lucchino. “John henry, Tom Werner, I, we were all engaged in this process; Ben was the leader of this process and made the ultimate recommendation to us. It sort of misunderstands the process.”
Cherington, Lucchino Clear The Air
The questions of who exactly was in charge began when it appeared Dale Sveum was the favorite to land the job. He met with Cherington for a second time during the owners meetings in Milwaukee, but was not offered the job after the meeting. At that time, Cherington says the Red Sox were not ready to make him an offer. It had nothing to do with the owners nixing one of his decisions.
“I knew that I wanted anyone who was a finalist to meet with ownership, have them know him better. I wanted to have ownership have a chance to meet Dale. I hadn’t recommended him for the job, I just simply wanted them to meet him as part the process. It just dovetailed with the Cubs offered him the position; we weren’t ready to do that and they did,” said the Sox GM.
“I can understand why that perception is out here, because of the events that happened in Milwaukee surrounding Dale. But that simply isn’t true,” he said. “This decision was mine and I made a recommendation to ownership sometime Monday to offer the job to Bobby.”
“This was the kind of collaboration that should take place when you’re dealing with something as fundamentally important to the franchise as the identity of the field manager,” added Lucchino.
A few things changed for Cherington as he went through the interviewing process, as he based a much higher emphasis on experience as the meetings went on. With 15-years on the bench under his belt, Valentine proved to be the best candidate.
“I thought that was important given our situation,” said Cherington. “Ultimately Gene (Lamont) and Bobby Valentine were the finalists and I believe that Bobby is the right person for this job at the time, so I recommended it to ownership and we offered him the job.”
In the end, Cherington said it was his call and he decided to offer Valentine a two-year deal with a pair of option years. He is confident, as are the owners, the Red Sox went with the right man for the job.
“It was a long process; I think a thorough process and I think ultimately the way it ended is something the fans will be very happy with,” he said. “We have a guy who has a real passion for baseball and badly want to win. He knows how to get players, help players, do things on the field they need to do to help us win.”