Assessing The Field: Managers: Yikes!

The Globe is reporting the Red Sox are considering new managers, a fact which should be mentioned along side the little known fact people need air to breathe. Of course the Red Sox need a new manager, what with having gotten rid of their old one and all. The specifics are the rub. As the Theo Epstein turns, the managerial search is in its nascent stages. Basically, it's all just speculation now, but that doesn't make the names included in the report any more inspiring.

In fairness, Terry Francona's name wasn't inspiring either back in 2003 when he was hired. Over parts of four years in Philadelphia Francona posted a 285-363 record (.440) which didn't cause any bidding wars between major league GMs for Tito's services. Despite all that I think it's fair to declare Francona's eight years in Boston an unmitigated success. In that vein, it's worth keeping an open mind about the names that are cropping up.

Here are a few of the names Nick Carfardo lists in his piece in the Globe yesterday along with some reactions to them.

Joe Maddon - Maddon was the runner up to Francona back in '03 so there is some symmetry there. I'm sure he would be the team's first choice given his sabermetric proclivities and his ability to work well with a forward thinking front office not to mention his success on the field. Why Tampa would let him go (he's signed for another season beyond this) is beyond me. My only question would be how his odd tactics would resonate in a more veteran clubhouse, but that wouldn't be a reason not to hire him were he available.

Eric Wedge - Wedge has experience working with sabermetric leaning front offices in Cleveland and Seattle. He's even experienced moderate success as manager of the 2007 Indians, the team that blew a 3-1 lead to the eventual World Series Champion Red Sox. He's signed through 2013 though so the Sox would have to give up something for him and to be honest, I can't imagine there isn't a more inspiring candidate available for free.

Kirk Gibson - At a certain point Mr. Carfardo is just listing the best managers in baseball. Not that that's illegitimate but it is a bit ridiculous. I'm sure the Red Sox will make a list of the best people for the job and it's possible Gibson's name could be on that list. Then again, like Maddon, why would he leave his current job? He's heading up a young Arizona team that is starting to experience success. He was hand picked by the current administration so presumably he has the support of the front office. He's a manager of the year candidate and he is signed through 2012 with a club option. So again, why would he come to Boston to clean up this mess?

Tony La Russa - In the entire world I can't imagine a worse choice. La Russa's ego is bigger than the city of Boston, he constantly out-smarts himself and blames everyone but himself if things don't go well. True, he's had lots of success over his career, but I can't imagine him working well with and taking input from the Boston front office. Also, he's obnoxious.

Buck Showalter - This has to be some sort of joke.

Jim Tracy - Have you ever heard Kevin Goldstein's impression of Jim Tracy on the Baseball Prospectus podcast? Jim Tracy is almost the anti-Francona. He's a seat-of-the-pants guy, one who goes by his gut no matter how many times i has steered him wrong in the past. He's a guy who will take grit 'n grime over talent. If the 30 best managers in the world were assembled for an event in a hotel conference room somewhere, and Tracy were there, it would be because he got a job busing the tables. Tracy is barely a candidate to manage his own team let alone take over the Red Sox.

Bruce Bochy - I admit I'm not as familiar with Bruce Bochy's work what with him spending all his managerial efforts in the National League West. Still, my impression is any manager of Brian Sabean's probably wouldn't fit in well with Boston as long as John Henry owns the team.

Bud Black - Black is not unlike Gibson in that he's been a relatively successful manager with one team. He's supported by the front office and just signed a new contract through 2013 with two one year club options tacked after that. It's pretty unlikely Black would leave San Diego. It won't hurt to ask, but

 * * *

The truth is the next Red Sox manager will likely not have a major league managing job to leave before he accepts the position in Boston. While that's a guess, looking at the above list I'll say it qualifies as an educated one.

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