BOSTON – The Boston Red Sox are looking for a strong voice in a clubhouse that disintegrated in September amid reports of players drinking beer and eating fried chicken during games.

Pete Mackanin thinks he might be able to provide it.

“I feel like I have leadership qualities and I feel like I can help this franchise get back to where it once was,” he told reporters Monday night after interviewing to be the Red Sox manager. “Not that it was ever gone from anything, but I guess there was a little hiccup here last year. We’re going to put it behind us and move on.”

The Red Sox opened their managerial search by interviewing Mackanin, the Philadelphia Phillies bench coach. Former Boston third-base coach Dale Sveum is scheduled for an interview Wednesday, and General Manager Ben Cherington says there could be five or six candidates in the first round of interviews.

“It could be more. We’re still working on the rest of that list,” Cherington said.

The Red Sox parted ways with Terry Francona, who won two World Series in Boston, after he admitted losing the clubhouse during a 7-20 September that left the ballclub one game short of the playoffs. Asked if he was more of a players’ manager or a disciplinarian, Mackanin said he was able to be both.

“I think you have to have an element of both sides of that in order to be a good motivator,” he said. “I think there’s a juggling act that’s involved in that, where you have to have enough discipline but at the same time let the players play easy. You don’t want them tense.”

A second baseman who played 548 games over nine seasons with the Rangers, Expos, Phillies and Twins, Mackanin has a well-rounded resume, including work as a minor- and major-league player, a scout, a third-base coach, infield and outfield instructor, minor league coordinator. He has managed in the big leagues on an interim basis, for the Reds in 2007 and Pirates in 2005. He has also worked in the Expos, Pirates and Yankees systems.

Also Monday, the Red Sox declined options on relievers Dan Wheeler and Scott Atchison.

 

INDIANS: Cleveland acquired pitcher Derek Lowe from the Atlanta Braves for minor league left-hander Chris Jones. Cleveland will only have to pay Lowe $5 million of the $15 million he’s scheduled to make in 2012.

• The Indians declined Grady Sizemore’s $9 million option, cutting ties with the popular, injury-plagued center fielder.

 

CUBS: Chicago exercised its $16 million option on third baseman Aramis Ramirez, but Ramirez informed the team that he will decline his side of the option and explore free agency.

 

RAYS: Tampa Bay exercised its $7.5 million option on pitcher James Shields. The club also picked up a $3.3 million option for reliever Kyle Farnsworth but declined a $3.2 million option on catcher Kelly Shoppach.

 

NATIONALS: The team announced that Davey Johnson will be back as manager in 2012.

 

REDS: Cincinnati exercised second baseman Brandon Phillips’ $12 million option for 2012, but declined a $12 million option to keep closer Francisco Cordero for one more season.

 

ROYALS: Kansas City exercised its $6 million option on All-Star closer Joakim Soria.