Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports knows who the next Red Sox manager should be, and that is the last Red Sox manager. Rosenthal doesn't think Bobby Valentine will be back in 2013, and when he's gone, Terry Francona should be hired once more. It's unlikely to happen this way, but Rosenthal makes his case:
There is no question that Francona lost his grasp of the Red Sox last September; he does not dispute that contention. But people forget: Francona was a lame-duck manager then.
If the Sox had signed him to an extension and told him to clean up the clubhouse - certain players had irritated the front office with their growing sense of entitlement even before the September collapse - then Francona could have exerted greater authority.
Now some of those players are gone... The Sox are committed to creating a new culture - one not unlike the culture of their championship teams in 2004 and '07... Need I remind you who the manager was?
Rosenthal goes on to point out what would have been mentioned in this space regardless: Cherington will likely want his own manager, especially since the first-time GM didn't handpick Bobby Valentine, when the time comes to select a new one.
That's likely the best place to go. Valentine isn't solely responsible for how the team has played, but his presence hasn't helped matters considerably, either, and the fact that he seems to have given up in 2012 isn't winning him any friends. Going back to Francona is the storybook route, but maybe it's time for a whole new story, and not just a new chapter.
Who the next Red Sox manager should be isn't a simple question, just as it wasn't last year. But someone entirely new, who can meet these players for the first time as their new boss, and without the kind of pre-existing hangups and personality of Valentine, might be the best fit. Just who that person is can't be answered right now, but given the state of things in Boston, it won't be a shock if the team needs to find out in a few months.