"We've done a lot of due diligence over the last couple of weeks," Cherington said at his introductory news conference. "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."
Cherington said the team considers previous managerial experience a plus, but not a necessity.
Mackanin, whose name has been attached to Boston's vacancy since the day Francona's departure was announced on Sept. 30, could not be reached for comment.
A 60-year-old Chicago native who lives in Florida, Mackanin has been the Phillies' bench coach for the past three seasons. In '05, he was named the Pirates' interim manager when Lloyd McClendon was let go, and he filled the same role for the Reds in '07 when Jerry Narron was replaced.
Mackanin's record as a Major League manager is 53-53, and he has a combined eight seasons of Major League coaching experience, as well. His Minor League managerial record is 917-849, and he posted five first-place finishes in 13 years.
Sveum, who turns 48 in November, has been with the Brewers the past six seasons since he left the Red Sox, most recently as Milwaukee's hitting coach for a third season. He was a favorite of several players in the clubhouse during his time in Boston, including Jason Varitek, whose return for next season is uncertain.
Sveum got his crack at big league managing in 2008, when he replaced Ned Yost with 12 games remaining before the playoffs. The Brewers went 7-5 to finish out the regular season, and they fell to Mackanin's Phillies in four games in the National League Division Series. Sveum also managed in the Pirates' system for three years, compiling a 213-211 record from 2001-03, and was named Baseball America's Top Managerial Prospect in the Eastern League (Double-A) in '03.
Both candidates have big league playing experience. A California native who lives in Arizona, Sveum played 12 seasons in the Majors with seven clubs, including parts of five seasons with Milwaukee. He's a lifetime .236 hitter, while Mackanin batted .226 between four clubs in nine seasons.
Although the Phillies announced on Oct. 20 that Mackanin had signed on to stay with the team in 2012, that move seems a formality, one that guaranteed he had a position if he did not land a managerial spot.
ESPN.com reported in early October, before the Phillies' NLDS loss to the Cardinals, that Mackanin was definitely interested in the Sox job.
"I'd rather just keep the focus on this series and wait," Mackanin told MLB.com at the time. "It's nice to see my name. I'm 60 years old. Sooner or later, my name is going to come up."