Valentine, 61, had an interview yesterday with Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington about replacing Terry Francona, who left after the team collapsed in September.
Valentine has worked as a major league analyst for Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN since his last managerial job, with Japan’s Chiba Lotte Marines from 2003-2009. He has 1,117 wins and 1,072 losses in 15 seasons as a manager in the major leagues, including seven years with the New York Mets and eight in Texas.
“This is a great organization with a great team and a great city and ballpark. That is very attractive,” Valentine said at a news conference yesterday. “I don’t think that anywhere else where there’s been a job opening and my name has been mentioned there have been as many fabulous factors.”
Valentine led the Mets to the 2000 World Series and was described by Cherington as “highly intelligent, creative, open- minded, certainly experienced,” and cited his passion for the game and successes in Japan and New York.
“If I look a little worn out it’s because I sweat the whole day,” Valentine said of his interview. “I’ve been very excited about this. I haven’t been as nervous or whatever it is for anything in a long, long time. It was invigorating, challenging and stimulating; all those good things.”
The Red Sox, who failed to make the playoffs after losing a nine-game lead for a postseason spot in the final month of the season, had an original list of five managerial candidates that didn’t include Valentine, at least publicly.
Philadelphia Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin and Cleveland Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar have been told they won’t get the job, while Milwaukee Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum was hired by the Chicago Cubs after having two interviews with the Red Sox. Detroit Tigers third base coach Gene Lamont will have a follow-up interview with Red Sox officials, while Cherington said Toronto Blue Jays first base coach Torey Lovullo also remains a candidate, according to MLB.com.
The Red Sox have missed the postseason the past two years and this offseason parted ways with Francona while facing questions about team culture and chemistry. Boston lost 20 of its final 27 games this past season.
“My life is baseball,” Valentine said. “If I got this job, I’d feel like it’s Christmas and I was the luckiest guy in the world.”
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