PAWTUCKET — While the Red Sox are expressing confidence that the search to find the next PawSox manager will be wrapped up by Christmas, don’t be surprised if official word filters out before the holidays.
Why the organization has nothing to announce at this time is likely two-fold. While all signs point to current Double-A skipper Kevin Boles moving to the front lines of the minor-league system, the 38-year-old is presently coaching a winter league team in Venezuela, Bravos de Margarita.
The Bravos’ season began on Oct. 10 and concludes on Dec. 29. The team is idle Dec. 22-26 before resuming what will be the final three games of its regular season. Currently in last place in the eight-team Venezuelan league, the Bravos carried a 20-31 record into Friday’s action.
Certainly the Red Sox are no strangers to announcing the next PawSox skipper while the actual person is in the midst of tending to Winter League business. Arnie Beyeler was informed three days before Christmas in 2010 that he was getting bumped up to the Triple-A ranks while in the midst of flying to his offseason home following a coaching stint in a warm climate.
Boles’ familiarity with the system figures to be a major selling point with team officials – he succeeded Beyeler as Portland’s bench boss in 2011 following managerial stops at Single-A Greenville (2008-09) and Single-A Salem (2010). In recent years, players such as Xander Bogaerts, Will Middlebrooks, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Bryce Brentz have benefited from Boles’ guiding hand.
The likely promotion of Boles falls directly in line with the internal route that Ben Cherington talked about earlier this week at the Winter Meetings. The Red Sox general manager told reporters that Gary DiSarcina’s replacement would come from within the minor-league coaching ranks, a development that not only boded well for Boles’ candidacy, but for several additional coaches who are also highly perceived.
In addition to Boles, the list of possible candidates in the search to name the 16th PawSox manager in franchise history likely included Chad Epperson (minor-league catching coordinator), Bruce Crabbe (Single-A Lowell manager) and Andy Fox (minor-league infield coordinator).
You can cross Fox’s name out as it was learned earlier this week that he was no longer a candidate for the Pawtucket vacancy.
The other factor that is likely keeping the Red Sox from ending Pawtucket’s managerial mystery stems from the fact that they will need to find a replacement in the event that Boles departs Portland. In keeping with the “staying close to home” theme, names such as Crabbe, Carlos Febles (Greenville manager) and Billy McMillon (Salem manager) make the most sense.
Follow Brendan McGair on Twitter @BWMcGair03