John Farrell is out as manager of the Red Sox, as the team announced on Wednesday that they would not ask him to return to the team in 2018. This is both somewhat surprising given the relative success he’s had over the last few years and now surprising given that the momentum seemed to be building to this moment since the end of last season. We’ll have plenty of reaction to this actual decision and what it could mean for future managers later in the day, but first let’s focus on those future managers. Finding a replacement for Farrell has suddenly jumped to the top of Dave Dombrowski’s to-do list, and he has a lot of different paths he can take. Should he stick with someone on the staff? Should he go with a veteran manager who has experience at the highest level? Should he go with a younger coach? Should he go with a fresh voice with little-to-no experience? There are options for each road he wants to take. Let’s take a look at the candidates who have been connected to the team in this early part of the process. Or, at least most of them. There have been a lot of names thrown out so I’m sure I’ve missed some.
Here, we have the guy I expect to be the most popular candidate among fans and analysts. Cora checks many of the boxes people will be looking for in a Red Sox manager. He’s young, and with a young core in Boston’s lineup a more youthful manager could be preferred. He’s spoken extremely high of from everyone he works with, whether it be the Astros, for whom he is currently the bench coach, or the team he runs in Puerto Rico in the winter. Cora has experience both on the bench and in a front office role, too, which could help make the bridge between him and Dombrowski much smoother. This could be a key for whomever is brought in next. There are some concerns with Cora. He’s never held the reigns to a team before. He doesn’t deal much with the media in Houston, either. Still, there will be cons with every candidate but Cora should be high on the list. He won’t be able to partake in interviews until after the Astros are eliminated from postseason play.
Cora may be the most popular candidate, but Ausmus will be the one who is brought up the most. He just fits the kind of guy one may think Dombrowski will target. For one thing, he already has, as he was the one who hired him in Detroit for his first managerial gig. There is also the fact that, whatever you may think of Dombrowski, he’s not the most innovative thinker. I don’t mean that in a bad way, but he generally doesn’t push the envelope with his decisions. This could mean he’ll be looking for someone who has been here before. Ausmus was not good with Detroit, and if he is hired and doesn’t change his ways in at least some aspects, he’ll be viewed in a very similar light as Farrell. That being said, there are plenty of examples of managers struggling in their first gig only to get a second chance and thrive. Ausmus wouldn’t be my first choice, but that possibility is always open.
Gardenhire is in a similar situation as Ausmus in that he has done the major-league managing thing before and is looking for a new opportunity. He spent many years in Minnesota before finally moving on as they went into a rebuild. He’s had success at the highest levels, but he’s also not someone I’d expect to see much new-school thinking from. His strengths would, presumably, come in the clubhouse.
Dombrowski has indicated that he doesn’t expect the next manager to come from the current coaching staff. There’s no reason to doubt that, but he did leave the possibility open. DiSarcina would be the top in-house candidate. The current bench coach has also served that same role for the Angels, and before that he was a successful and respected manager at the minor-league level in the Red Sox organization. He is also has local ties, which never hurts.
Here we have a name that will surely be speculated on plenty in this process, though it’s unclear how much of a possibility this really is. The former Red Sox outfielder is a fascinating case. He currently serves in a front office role with the Dodgers and has one of the most progressive minds in baseball. He’s always willing to try new things and that can be exciting in a manager role. On the flip side, he has very little coaching experience, having spent just one season in that job. That was back in 2007 when he was the manager of the Greenville Drive in Boston’s farm system. Still, he interviewed for the Dodgers managerial gig before Dave Roberts got the job, so this could be something he could be interested in. I’m not sure he and Dombrowski would thrive together, but it’d be worth it to at least bring him in for an interview and hear some of his ideas.
Basically since the day he retired, many have been waiting for the day Varitek would become a manager. He was a leader in the Red Sox clubhouse throughout his career, though it should be noted that included that horrible very bad 2011 season. Still, former catchers can make some of the best managers, and he has seemed to have that kind of mind. He’s been in the organization in some capacity or another since retiring, and interviewed for the Mariners manager gig a few years ago. In this media market, hiring someone with literally no coaching experience is frightening, though we’ve seen it work elsewhere.
Here’s another in-house candidate, though one would have to imagine he’d be after DiSarcina on the list. Still, people have long thought his future is as a manager. His team didn’t hit well this year, which doesn’t help his case, but he should at least get an interview for this position.
Martinez has been around for a while and has long been one of the most respected bench coaches in baseball, though he hasn’t gotten his chance at managing a team yet. Many speculate that could end this year. He’s been under the tutelage of Joe Maddon for his entire career, which won’t endear him to many around here. On the other hand, it does mean he’s been around a lot of winning baseball over the years and has surely picked up on some useful strategies in his long career.
Many will remember Hale as the former....well, everything, for the Red Sox. He’s served many different roles all around the game, and is currently the bench coach in Toronto. He knows this city and has paid his dues to get a managerial gig, at the very least. Expect him to be on the list interviewees.
I would say there is a 0.001 percent chance he is the next manager of the Red Sox. But with his connection to Dombrowski, he’ll be mentioned by plenty. Don’t be fooled. The man is retired.
This is a really interesting candidate that I hadn’t considered until Evan Drellich brought up the possibility. Meulens is currently the hitting coach in San Francisco and has won three World Series with them. On top of that, he is the manager of the Netherlands baseball team, meaning he has coached the likes of Xander Bogaerts in the past. He also speaks five languages, a unique quality to have in a major-league clubhouse. I don’t know much about his in-game tendencies, but he has many of the other bases covered. Also, his nickname is Bam Bam.
The Indians pitching coach is going to be one of the most popular managerial candidates out there this year. He could actually feasibly just swap places with Farrell, with the latter joining old friend Terry Francona in Cleveland.