BOSTON -- Ben Cherington might only be hours into his new role as the general manager of the Red Sox, but he's already fairly well into his search for a new manager.
As the process of Theo Epstein moving to the Chicago Cubs became delayed for procedural reasons, Cherington continued to do background checks to come up with the best possible list of candidates to succeed Terry Francona.
He's not ready to make the list public just yet, or start the interview process, but it sounds as if he's getting close.
"We've done a lot of due diligence over the last couple of weeks," Cherington said. "That was one of the benefits behind the uncertainty, is we could work behind the scenes and do a lot of research and ask a lot of questions of potential candidates, so we've narrowed a list down to a probable first group of interviews. I'm not prepared to say who they are because we haven't asked permission for anyone yet.
"We expect we'll start the interview process soon, and we do have a short list of candidates. There will be several. I don't want to put a number on our first round of interviews, but there will be a handful that will interview in the first round."
Epstein stated on the day Francona stepped down that someone with previous managerial experience would be preferable. However, Cherington backed off that a little.
"Previous managerial experience would be a benefit, but we're not going to put ourselves in a box by requiring that," Cherington said. "We'll certainly consider those that have previous managerial experience, but also those who don't. We need the right person. I don't think we can afford to put ourselves in any sort of box in our effort to find the right person."
What is Cherington looking for?
"I want someone who's got a strong voice," he said. "I want someone who cares about players, but also is willing and ready to have tough conversations with them. I want someone who can collaborate with the front office and with ownership, but also is willing to make an argument when he disagrees and is able to do that. I want someone who has a passion for the game.
"I want someone who can create a culture in the clubhouse that allows everyone in the clubhouse -- players, coaches, medical staff, support staff -- to feel empowered to do their jobs and put the team in the best position to win, and make sure that we're more prepared than the other team every night that we go out there. So those are some of the general principles, attributes that we're looking for.
"As far as timeline, we're going to move swiftly but diligently, and we'll be methodical in our search. Tito wasn't hired until after Thanksgiving [in 2003] I believe, so we're pretty early in the offseason. But certainly we'll get going on that search very soon."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.