Sunday, November 27, 2011
No Red Sox offer for Bobby Valentine yet
By Gordon Edes
BOSTON -- Bobby Valentine and Gene Lamont, the two purported finalists for the Boston Red Sox's managing job, have yet to receive an offer from the team, both men said Sunday.
"I haven't heard a word," Valentine said in a text message.
Lamont, reached by phone on Sunday, said he has not spoken with Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington since Wednesday.
Lamont said he met on Tuesday with Red Sox majority owner John Henry in Boca Raton, Fla., where Henry maintains a home, and on Wednesday flew to New York for a meeting with Red Sox chairman Tom Werner.
"I've talked to people,'' Lamont said, "but I don't know what their time frame is now.''
Lamont said that one widely speculated scenario, in which he would become manager with another candidate on Cherington's original list, Torey Lovullo, serving as his bench coach, had not been discussed with him.
Both Valentine and Lamont have had two tours of duty managing in the big leagues. Valentine, 61, managed the Texas Rangers and New York Mets for a total of 15 seasons. Valentine's teams never won a division title, but in 2000 the Mets won the National League wild card and pennant before losing to the Yankees in the World Series.
Lamont, who turns 65 on Christmas Day, managed the Chicago White Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates for a total of eight seasons, four with each team. He won the American League West in 1993 and was named AL Manager of the Year that season.
Valentine won the Japan Series in 2005 with the Chiba Lotte Marines, a team that had not won the Series in 31 years. Valentine managed the Marines from 2004-09 before returning to the U.S., where he is currently serving as an analyst on ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball."
Lamont has spent the last six seasons in Detroit as Jim Leyland's third-base coach for the Tigers. In 2001, he served in the same role for the Red Sox and Jimy Williams, who was fired in August that year.
Asked why he hasn't managed since 2000, Lamont said: "I don't really know. One thing may be that I don't toot my horn about myself. I thought maybe somebody would call. I wanted to manage, don't get me wrong, but the opportunity didn't come.
"Maybe everybody isn't as smart as I thought they were."
Valentine and Lamont could not be more different in profile and personality. Valentine is forceful and outspoken, a lightning rod for controversy -- especially during his tenure in New York, where he clashed with his own players, management and media members -- and a charismatic figure, especially in Japan, where he became a cult persona.
Lamont, on the other hand, is low-key and laid-back, the polar opposite in temperament from the intense Valentine.
Lamont did have a touch of controversy in Chicago. During the 1993 AL playoffs against the Toronto Blue Jays, his decision to let Joey Cora bat for himself in the ninth inning when Bo Jackson and George Bell were both available as pinch-hitters provoked angry responses from Jackson and Bell. At the time, the Chicago crowd was chanting, "Bo, Bo, Bo," prompting Jackson to wonder afterward if Lamont "didn't have his hearing aid on.''
Bell, meanwhile, said he didn't "respect (Lamont) as a manager or a man.'' It should be noted that Bell had ended the regular season in an 0-for-26 slide.
The White Sox were in first place in 1994 when a strike cut the season short, and Lamont was fired early in the 1995 season, though several White Sox stars spoke approvingly of his time in Chicago, even after he resurfaced in Pittsburgh.
"I know he's a winner, and he always has been a winner," Frank Thomas said. "It's just the way he carries himself. He was always in control of the team, a level-headed guy when he needed to be, but a strict disciplinarian when he had to be. He's one of those guys that was really easy to play for."
Cherington originally had said he hoped to have a new manager in place before Thanksgiving. With the winter meetings scheduled to begin next Monday in Dallas, the GM said he expects to have a new man in place by then.
Gordon Edes covers the Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com.