Red Sox hope to have new manager in place by Thanksgiving

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According to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, new Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said today that he hopes to have a new manager in place by Thanksgiving.

The Red Sox began the interview process today by welcoming Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin to Fenway Park. Mackanin, 60, has only served in an interim manager capacity with the Reds and Pirates, but told reporters following today’s interview that he is ready for the challenge of an official gig.

“I want the job because it’s something I’ve wanted for a while,” Mackanin said. “Coming up through the minor leagues, having played in the big leagues, it’s the top of the industry. It’s a premiere franchise. The way I look at it is, who wouldn’t want to manage the Boston Red Sox?”

Cherington expects to meet with “five or six” candidates before making a decision. Brewers hitting coach and former Red Sox third base coach Dale Sveum, the only other confirmed candidate, is scheduled to interview on Wednesday.

Interestingly, Cherington also acknowledged that certain members of Terry Francona’s staff, presumably DeMarlo Hale or Tim Bogar, haven’t necessarily been ruled out for the job.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.