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What can the past tell us about organization's search for next possible PawSox manager?

November 17, 2013

Gary DiSarcina did not step into a completely new situation when he became manager of the PawSox last December. The art of familiarity allowed him to hit the ground running, a trait to keep in mind as the search for DiSarcina's heir continues.

PAWTUCKET — If the past is any sort of indicator, the Red Sox can go in one of a number of directions in shopping for a new PawSox manager.

Pawtucket has seen four skippers come and go dating back to Buddy Bailey’s dismissal in 2004. In Ron Johnson and Arnie Beyeler, the Red Sox elected to go the internal route – both received promotions from their managerial posts in Double-A Portland. With Torey Lovullo and most recently Gary DiSarcina, the organization chose to cast a net outside the farm system and bring in someone with already set-in-stone connections.

Lovullo was the manager of the Cleveland Indians’ Triple-A affiliate before succeeding Johnson in Pawtucket prior to the 2010 season. Joining the ranks of a new employer was made much easier thanks to the pre-existing relationships Lovullo had already cultivated with several key figures.

Lovullo knew Terry Francona from his playing days in Philadelphia when the latter managed the Phillies. He was also acquainted with John Farrell from their days as major-league teammates with the Angels and later working together in Cleveland’s minor-league system. Red Sox Assistant General Manager Mike Hazen also appeared on Lovullo’s “no introductions required” list. The two became employees of the Indians the same year (2001) with Hazen going on to work in the team’s scouting department.

That same aura of familiarity was rekindled upon DiSarcina’s hiring last December after Beyeler was named Boston’s first-base coach. Many of the same Red Sox faces DiSarcina came across during his three years as manager of Single-A Lowell (2007-09) and the one season he spent as the minor-league roving coordinator (2010) were still in place.

Just like Lovullo, DiSarcina was not walking into a completely foreign situation, which in turn allowed him to direct more of his time and energy to better understanding the seasonal ebbs and flows that go with the title of PawSox manager.
Clearly, the Red Sox aren’t afraid to look elsewhere in an effort to fill arguably the most important coaching position in the farm system. As the hirings of Lovullo and DiSarcina suggest, it appears that some stock is placed in finding an outsider who in one way or another has ties to key personnel.

By the same token, the fact that Johnson and Beyeler made the jump from Portland indicates that someone like current Sea Dogs bench boss Kevin Boles figures to be a possible heir to DiSarcina, who departed Pawtucket earlier this month to become the third-base coach for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

“I don’t think we’re necessarily preparing candidates based on what has happened in the past. We’re looking for the right fit and somebody who is good with people, a good teacher, and someone who can manage at that level,” stated Ben Crockett, Boston’s director of player development. “Obviously there are internal candidates within the organization and we’re working towards sorting that out.

“When you go externally, there can be an associated risk when you don’t know the candidates as well,” Crockett added. “You have to balance all those factors before making the best decision.”

Asked if the process to find what will amount to the fifth Pawtucket manager since the start of the 2009 campaign is starting to come into focus, Crockett replied, “It’s early at this point. We haven’t gotten very far with the process, nor have we moved forward internally or externally. We’re not in a rush.”

In going down an additional road of past deductions in an effort to get a better sense of when the new PawSox manager will be officially named, here is a timetable of how long it took for Boston to search for a new Triple-A overseer.
On Nov. 23, 2009, Johnson was named Boston’s first-base coach. Eight days later, Lovullo was hired.

Lovullo departed Pawtucket on Nov. 8, 2010 to become Toronto’s first-base coach. Beyeler found out that he got the PawSox job while on his way home from his winter ball address a few days before Christmas.

Last Nov. 20 was when Beyeler found out that he was bound for the majors. The search to find his replacement ended Dec. 14 when DiSarcina officially became the 15th manager in PawSox history.

It’s just another log (or two) to throw on the fire as the process of finding the latest Pawtucket manager continues.

Follow Brendan McGair on Twitter @BWMcGair03

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