After one week without a single general manager candidate passing through the door on Yawkey Way, the Red Sox will relaunch the search process at 11 this morning when Dave Wilder, the White Sox' 45-year-old director of player development, interviews for the position.
Wilder, who is African-American, represents the fifth candidate to interview for the vacancy and the first minority candidate. Bud Selig, since April 1999, has mandated that teams include minority candidates in the search process when hiring managers, assistant general managers, or general managers.
Michael Hill, the Florida Marlins' assistant GM the last three seasons, also is expected to be interviewed in the coming days. Hill, named to Black Enterprise magazine's 2003 Hot List of African-American executives under age 40, is a celebrated 1993 graduate of Harvard, where as a senior he was elected class marshal, led the football team in rushing, and captained the baseball team.
Hill, in an e-mail last night, said he had not yet been contacted by the Red Sox.
Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino, meanwhile, said last night Jim Beattie and Jim Bowden, the two candidates asked back for second interviews, will visit Boston in the next few days.
Lucchino, when asked about Wilder, cited four characteristics supporting his candidacy: diverse baseball experiences, an encouraging track record with different organizations in player development, a World Series championship this year, and the endorsement of White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf.
Wilder, who has worked for the A's, Braves, Cubs, Brewers, and White Sox, is known foremost as a talent evaluator. After retiring in 1989, bringing to an end a minor league playing career, Wilder began scouting and coaching in the A's system. He joined the Braves as a scout in 1991, ascending to assistant director of scouting and player development in 1995, his last year with Atlanta. He directed the Cubs' farm system for three seasons, then climbed into the role of assistant GM in 1999.
He then moved to Milwaukee, where he became the club's vice president of player personnel for three seasons before accepting a position as special assignment scout in 2003. That fall he joined the White Sox in his current capacity.
''I'm very interested," said Wilder, who said he was contacted by the Red Sox Wednesday. ''It's the Boston Red Sox job. Who wouldn't be? It's an honor to be in this process.
''If you dreamed your first job, and it's the Boston Red Sox, you wouldn't wake up."
Wilder has interviewed for three previous GM openings -- with Baltimore and Seattle in the fall of 2003 and Arizona last month -- but wasn't offered any of them. He declined an opportunity this offseason to interview for the Tampa Bay GM opening.
His strength, he said, ''definitely is in evaluating, scouting, player development at the major league level. I've been in front offices for 10, 11 years. I've done just about everything. I feel I'm pretty much prepared for this job. I'm just looking to get the opportunity."
His one area of inexperience, if he had to pick one, would be contract work. He was involved in such work during his last season with the Cubs and to an extent in Milwaukee. ''It hasn't been my main [responsibility]," he said. ''I don't think I'd be unable if asked."
Wilder, in published reports, has been credited on several occasions for lending valued input in White Sox GM Ken Williams's decision-making process. Wilder reportedly recommended that Williams deal for shortstop Juan Uribe and volatile designated hitter Carl Everett, pursue Japanese prospect Tadahito Iguchi, and sign controversial catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Wilder also helped talk Williams into not dealing for a closer when Dustin Hermanson was ailing, believing that Double A flamethrower Bobby Jenks could step into the vacuum.
Wilder yesterday indicated a love for his current job.
''These are the best people I've been around in baseball," he said. ''I have a wonderful job. I've got the respect of my boss and owner. Anything else would be gravy."
Yesterday, the Red Sox' GM-by-committee announced the purchasing of six players' contracts. Lefthander Jon Lester, outfielders Brandon Moss and David Murphy, and righthanders David Pauley, Jesús Delgado, and Harvey García were added to the 40-man roster.
Gabe Kapler, the free agent outfielder rehabbing in the wake of Achilles' tendon surgery, was released. That leaves 37 players on the 40-man roster.