Tim Wallach interviews with Red Sox
BOSTON -- For the second time on the three occasions the Boston Red Sox have been in the market for a new manager under owner John Henry, they began by interviewing a third-base coach from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Tim Wallach, 55, spent the entire day meeting with Ben Cherington and members of the general manager's staff as the Sox opened their first round of interviews Friday in search of a replacement for Bobby Valentine, who was fired eight days earlier. Wallach had dinner with Cherington and his staff Friday night, and he was scheduled to fly back to his home on the West Coast on Saturday.
"I thought it went well," said Wallach, a five-time All-Star as a third baseman, who twice before has interviewed for big-league managing jobs. His first came in 2006 with the San Diego Padres and the second was in 2010 with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Interestingly, even though he was named Pacific Coast League manager of the Year in 2010, when he led the Albuquerque Isotopes to a franchise record in wins, Wallach was not interviewed for the Dodgers' job when Joe Torre stepped down that year. Don Mattingly succeeded Torre in what may have been a prearranged order of succession, Mattingly having followed Torre from New York when he left the Yankees.
Wallach also said he doesn't know why the Red Sox did not ask to interview him last year, before Valentine was hired.
"And I didn't ask them about it," he said.
Wallach preferred not to discuss details of the interview process, other than to say it was very thorough. It is safe to assume he was presented with the video studies the Red Sox have made a staple of previous searches, in which a candidate is presented with game situations and asked how he would respond.
In 2003, when the Red Sox were seeking to replace Grady Little, they opened their search by interviewing Glenn Hoffman, the former Sox shortstop who was the Dodgers' third-base coach at the time.
The Sox interviewed four candidates in 2003 -- Hoffman, Joe Maddon, DeMarlo Hale and their ultimate selection, Terry Francona.
Only one other candidate so far has been identified in the search Cherington is conducting: Brad Ausmus, the former Gold-Glove catcher who is a special assistant with the Padres.
Wallach said it was his impression that the first round of interviews may not last beyond next week, which suggests the Red Sox have a short list of candidates they intend to interview.
The man widely considered the team's preferred candidate, Toronto manager John Farrell, is under contract with the Blue Jays for another year and as of early Friday evening, according to a baseball source, Farrell was not aware whether the Red Sox had asked permission to interview him.
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Wallach said he did not meet with Red Sox ownership or with CEO Larry Lucchino. That meeting may await a second round of interviews, if he is identified as a finalist.
Wallach said he was confident the Red Sox viewed him as a serious candidate for the job.
"I don't think they would have brought me here unless they were serious," he said. "But I understand the process that has to be gone through. I honestly believe they wouldn't waste their time."
Asked what qualities he possesses that would make him an attractive candidate to the Red Sox, Wallach said: "That's hard for me to answer. Hopefully, communication, temperament, knowledge -- all those things. I'd hate to guess what they think are the (qualities) that make a good manager, but I like to think I have them."
A native of Huntington Beach, Calif., Wallach was drafted in the first round by the Montreal Expos in 1979, a year before the Expos made Terry Francona their No. 1 pick. In his last season at Cal State-Fullerton, Wallach won the Golden Spikes Award as the nation's best college player. A year later, Francona won the same award at the University of Arizona.
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Wallach and Francona played five seasons together in Montreal. Wallach became a five-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glover at third, while Francona's career was derailed by a serious knee injury.
Wallach played 17 seasons in the big leagues, finishing his playing career with the Dodgers in 1996. He spent two seasons as Dodgers hitting coach in 2004 and '05, then returned to manage Albuquerque in 2010 and '11, before joining Mattingly's staff as third-base coach prior to this season.
"I definitely started thinking about (managing) near the end of my career," he said. "I love the whole circle of what it entails -- the relationships, the strategy, all the things that go into managing."
In the previous managerial searches conducted since Henry became owner, the Red Sox made their candidates available to the media. The club said it was useful to see how candidates interacted with the media, which they called a significant part of the job here, because the manager is the public face of the team.
That was not the case, however, Friday, although it may be pending later rounds.
Information provided ESPNLosAngeles.com's Ramona Shelburne was used in this report.