Red Sox

McAdam: Will Red Sox be willing to (again) risk a first-time manager?

(Shelley Lipton/Ge3tty Images)

Numerous reports have the Red Sox settling on five finalists for their managerial vacancy: Don Kelly, Sam Fuld, Carlos Mendoza, James Rowson and Alex Cora.

That's a varied and diverse list -- in every sense of the word. All five played pro ball, though Rowson never made it to the major leagues, topping out in Single A, then playing independent ball for a year.

None of the other four was a star in the big leagues, though it can be said that three maximized their potential and ability to enjoy a lengthy major league career. Kelly played for nine years and three teams; Cora played for six teams over 14 years; and Fuld play for four franchises in a career that lasted eight seasons.

But when it comes to managerial experience, one candidate separates himself from all the rest: only Cora has major league managerial experience. As it happens, he has two years of managerial experience with the very franchise seeking to fill its present vacancy, and in one of those, he captured a championship.

No other candidate has managed in the big leagues. Meanwhile, three -- Kelly, Fuld and Rowson -- have never managed at any level. One other -- Mendoza -- managed for two seasons in the lower minors in 2011 and 2012.

The question would seem to be: how important is managerial experience this time around?