The names keep coming.
First there was news of the Red Sox interviewing Will Venable of the Cubs and then the Tigers Don Kelly. Friday there was the ESPN.com report of Arizona’s Luis Urueta getting another go-round, with subsequent reports stating that San Diego’s Skip Schumaker (San Diego Tribine) and Miami’s James Rowson (Boston Globe) had meetings with Chaim Bloom. The Globe also added Pittsburgh’s Mike Bell as someone who the Sox have asked on.
Don’t hold your breath for the Red Sox fandom to start campaigning for any of the above. Why? The majority of baseball followers in this area have no idea who these guys are.
Alex Cora? Sure. But Venable, Kelly, Urueta, Schumaker, Rowson and Bell? Good luck with sparking up that debate.
But a lesson should be learned here, one that is born from one of these World Series managers.
Just because you have never heard of them doesn’t mean they aren’t going to hire them.
Let’s go back to 2014 …
When the 2014 season ended Kevin Cash was known best for serving as a backup catcher on the 2007 world champion Red Sox team. Since his retirement in 2011 he had been an advance scout for the Blue Jays and then Terry Francona’s bullpen coach. But all of a sudden Texas called and wanted to interview Cash for its manager job. It was an out-of-nowhere ask.
Then the Rays followed suit. Still, few believed there was an actual chance the then-36-year-old had a chance. He was a two-year bullpen coach. Next thing you know Cash was Tampa Bay’s manager.
According to those familiar with the situation, the path that led Cash to his current job was born from reputation and the same sort of interviews Bloom is currently conducting.
It starts with buzz around the candidate. What are people in the industry saying about him? Who were his mentors? For Cash all of that certainly got his foot in the door when it came to both the Rangers and Rays interviews, with his relationships with John Farrell and Francona going a long way. This is what got the ball rolling.
Then came the interview. Cash showed he had a great grasp of tactical concepts, but relaying his expertise in a relatable way. It’s one thing to have the knowledge, but you also have to possess the kind of personality that is going to click with both the front office and players. Most important of all, you have to be genuine. That was the vibe the Rays got.
There is also the need for ideas and acceptance. The narrative that Cash just does whatever the front office tells him to do is a false one, with the manager often times creating many of the outside-the-box methods the Rays have become known for. He has been the main driver for the unique Tampa Bay pitcher usage over the past three seasons.
(It should also be noted that another out-of-the-blue candidate was Cora, who also was interviewed by the Rangers that offseason despite not working in any sort of coaching capacity since his playing days.)
So far, these Red Sox candidates are just names and Google searches. And until we get word on how Bloom is viewing Cora’s situation they will remain that way. But just understand that the guy doing these interviews has gone down this road before, ending up in a place few could have predicted at the time.