Last year, the Red Sox went with the sexy pick. Yup, in some circles, Bobby Valentine is Channing Tatum in a ballcap.
The Bobby V. hire create buzz. He was a familiar name. He had a background in TV. He was a compelling interview. He had energy.
As we all know now, none of that translated into wins on the diamond.
This time around, Boston should go with a true baseball guy, regardless of Q Score.
What is refreshing is that the Red Sox are interviewing relative no names like Tim Wallach (third base coach for the Dodgers) and DeMarlo Hale (former Sox third base coach scheduled for Thursday).
Tony Pena has been the “sexiest” name interviewed so far and that’s a great thing. Not many Red Sox fans under the age of 25 even remember Pena as a former Boston catcher who had a unique, stretching catching position behind the plate. Not many remember that he was once AL Manager of the Year (2003) with Kansas City because he was, well, working in Kansas City.
If the Red Sox main concern is creating discussion outside the baseball world this week then they will give former Yankees manager Joe Torre an interview in the next 10 days. Nothing would add a spark to the near dormant Sox-Yanks rivalry like getting the revered Torre involved.
But the Sox have no choice but to be longterm realists at this stage of things. The only way back to the top is to win baseball games, plain and simple.
Interviewing and then (god-forbid) hiring the most popular manager in the history of your archrivals makes for some great, short-term fodder. But Torre is 72-years-old. He, like Bobby V., is a short-term solution to a longterm problem.
And is landing John Farrell, the second biggest name out there, even worth it at this point? Giving up a valuable prospect for a manager that has gone 154-170 in his career would put a smile on the faces of all the leftover Francona lovers in town (and there are plenty). But the Red Sox need a young, fresh, stern face. None of the guys interviewed so far would be deemed “sexy hires” by the masses if they were brought aboard. But since when does a baseball manager, of all things, need to be glamorous?