The Red Sox are beginning to narrow the list of managerial candidates they’re considering, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports (via Twitter). While five finalists have been previously reported — former manager Alex Cora, Phillies director of integrative baseball performance Sam Fuld, Pirates bench coach Don Kelly, Marlins bench coach James Rowson and Yankees bench coach Carlos Mendoza — Heyman characterizes Cora and Fuld as the favorites.
Alex Speier of the Boston Globe also suggests that the search is nearing a conclusion, reporting that Mendoza and one other finalist have been informed they’re no longer in the running. Cora and Fuld are indeed among the three remaining finalists, per Speier, who adds that a decision is expected to be made “soon.” While the widespread expectation has been that the Red Sox will simply re-hire Cora, Heyman notes that Fuld is seen as having a “very real” chance at winning the gig.
Fuld’s name was only linked to the Boston job less than a week ago, though the 38-year-old has past ties to Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom since both were members of the Rays organization (Fuld as a player, Bloom in the baseball operations department) from 2011-13. Multiple teams have expressed interest in Fuld for managerial positions in the past but he has declined interviews, so the fact that he has been speaking with the Red Sox is perhaps itself notable. Fuld was hired to his current position by former Phillies GM Matt Klentak, though since Klentak is no longer running Philadelphia’s front office, this could hint at why Fuld may now be open to exploring job opportunities on other teams.
Fuld has never worked as a coach or manager at any level, making him an interesting contrast to a World Series-winning manager like Cora. The unknown candidate, whether it’s Rowson or Kelly, would also be a first-time manager. Rowson has worked as Miami’s bench coach for a season and over a decade of experience as a Major League hitting coach and minor league hitting instructor. Since retiring from playing after the 2016 season, Kelly spent two season as a scout for the Tigers before moving onto coaching roles with the Astros and Pirates.