Red Sox begin interviewing candidates for open manager position

The Red Sox are interviewing candidates for their next manager.

The search for the next Boston Red Sox manager is officially underway. For the first time since dismissing Ron Roenicke on the final day of the regular season, the club is making progress toward filling the open position.

According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, the Red Sox have interviewed Chicago Cubs coach Will Venable.

Venable was Chicago’s third base coach this season after previously serving as the first base coach for two seasons and a special assistant to team president Theo Epstein in 2017. The former outfielder spent most of his nine-year career with the San Diego Padres with brief stints with the Rangers and Dodgers. Venable retired from his playing career after appearing in only 12 games for Los Angeles in 2016.

Heyman’s report also mentions two other coaches who are on Boston’s radar. George Lombard is currently busy being part of the Dodgers coaching staff so the Red Sox will presumably need to wait until after the World Series to interview him. That could make Pirates coach Don Kelly the next candidate to receive an interview, although nothing has been set yet.

Update: Alex Speier of the Boston Globe reports that Kelly has received an interview.

Chaim Bloom might have his eye on members of the Tampa Bay Rays coaching staff considering his familiarity with the organization. Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro is an option that many have speculated about but the Red Sox probably need to wait until after the Fall Classic to interview him.

Waiting until after the World Series to make a decision is a near certainty. Not only because it would allow them to interview candidates from the Dodgers or Rays, but it’s also the only way to include Alex Cora for consideration. The former Red Sox manager is currently serving a suspension for his role in the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal and teams aren’t able to speak with him until after the World Series.

Cora is viewed as the favorite to reclaim his position as Red Sox manager but the team naturally needs to interview other options. We know ownership supports Cora and might be nudging Bloom in that direction but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s the top choice for the chief baseball officer. Bloom has no ties to Cora and may prefer his own candidate to distance himself from the previous front office regime.

If the Red Sox are indeed interested in bringing back Cora, it’s hard to imagine him spurning them for another team. However, we don’t know if Cora is even interested in managing next year. Perhaps his time off has given him the opportunity to reflect on what he wants to do with his life and that could pull him in another direction. It’s not unreasonable to believe that Cora might want some more time away from the game to let the heat die down on his connection to a cheating scandal.

Just in case a reunion with Cora isn’t in the cards, the Red Sox need to have a backup plan. We’ve heard speculation over the last few weeks of possible options based on the availability of candidates deemed worthy of consideration but this is the first news we’ve heard of someone actually getting an interview or of candidates on the list to receive one.

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The Red Sox aren’t in rush to hire their next manager but at least they are finally making some progress.