With John Farrell out as Red Sox manager after five years at the helm, the Sox are looking for a manager for the first time since the Bobby Valentine debacle. Dave Dombrowski will be interviewing for the first time since joining the Red Sox. Farrell made some questionable in-game decisions, it was probably time for him to go. Looking back on his tenure though, he won a World Series while here and three AL East Division titles. Thank you for your work John Farrell. Now, onto the candidates for replacing him.
Brad Ausmus, in my opinion, is the leading candidate for the job. Not saying he is my top choice, (though I think he’d be a fine hire) he’s just the lead dog in the race. Managers typically do better in a second go around; Terry Francona, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox are just a few who flopped in their first managerial stint only to go on to success in their second job. Joe Torre took several tries before getting it right. Ausmus is a smart guy– he went to an Ivy League school in Dartmouth. He also caught behind the plate for 18 seasons. Ausmus knows baseball. In 2013, he interviewed for the Red Sox managerial opening and impressed the Red Sox with his pitch. If Toronto had not agreed to trade John Farrell to the Red Sox, Brad Ausmus probably would have been our manager.
Brad Ausmus was hired in Detroit by none other than Dave Dombrowski, who is now doing the hiring for the Red Sox. Maybe he will go hire his guy again. Ausmus could do better a second time around, though he wasn’t a complete flop in Detroit. He posted two seasons above .500, including a 90 win season in 2014. Ausmus is from Connecticut and owns a home on Cape Cod, he is a local guy. The connection here is too easy. In pairing Ausmus back up with Dombrowski, the Sox would have the man who gave JD Martinez another chance after being waived by the Astros, and his former manager with the Tigers. Maybe this pairing would increase the Red Sox chances of signing him.
Alex Cora is the other name that will be discussed. Cora has been talked up as a future MLB manager since he was still playing. A sizable chunk of those playing days came in Boston as a utility infielder. Acquired by the Red Sox in 2005, Cora stayed with the team through the 2008 season. Many former teammates have touted his baseball acumen and said he would make an excellent manager. Cora currently serves as the Houston Astros Bench Coach, and has had obvious success there. Any hiring of him would have to wait until after the Astros season concludes, which at this point hopefully isn’t anytime soon.
Secondary Candidates With Managerial Experience
Ron Gardenhire is a name that surprises me a bit, as he has had health issues. Currently serving as a coach with Arizona, Gardenhire had a lot of success while managing the Twins; regular season success. The Twins made the playoffs in six of his first nine seasons at the helm, finishing with a losing record just once in that span. They only advanced out of the first round in his first season, way back in 2002. Their overall playoff record under him was 6-21. The Twins also trended downhill over his last 4 seasons, topping out with a high of 70 wins.
Brad Mills is an interesting name. Mills served as Francona’s Bench Coach for much of his time in Boston before taking the Managerial position in Houston. Houston was lousy during his time there, but they would have been lousy under anyone. The Astros roster was quite anemic during those years. Stated previously, having prior managerial experience usually helps in a second go around. Mills is again serving as Francona’s Bench Coach in Cleveland, having more success alongside his friend.
Tony Pena is a bit of a dark horse candidate. He isn’t mentioned much, and I’m curious why he hasn’t managed since 2005. Pena was once an up and coming managerial candidate. He was in the game seemingly forever as a catcher. He won Manager of the Year in 2003, his second year on the job. What is the reason for him not getting a manager position since? Pena interviewed for the Sox opening last time, and has been serving on the Yankees coaching staff since 2006.
Secondary Candidates with Red Sox ties
Mike Maddux was considered one of the favorites for the Red Sox manager position in 2013 before he withdrew from consideration. At the time he cited being too far away from his family in Texas. Since that time, Maddux has taken the position of pitching coach with the Washington Nationals, not really any closer to Texas than Boston. He seems to have changed his mind. Maddux did well as pitching coach in Texas, considering the pitching conditions and the guys on their staff. He has done a good job in Washington as well. Maddux also pitched for the Red Sox back in 1995 and 1996, so he is familiar with the city and the atmosphere at Fenway. Maddux is someone I believe deserves the opportunity to manage in the future.
DeMarlo Hale is another former Terry Francona bench coach in Boston. Unlike Mills, he has yet to receive a chance to manage at the big league level. He did manage for years in the Minor Leagues before becoming a coach in the big leagues. Hale was only the Red Sox bench coach for two seasons, his tenure ending following the 2011 beer and chicken fiasco. I’d consider him a bit of a long shot.
Gary Disarcina has worked all over the Red Sox organization, so why not add another job to his belt? He was a baseball operations consultant, did some studio work for NESN, and was a minor league manager and infield instructor. Disarcina has had three separate stints with the Red Sox, winning Minor League Manager of the Year in his one season as Pawtucket’s manager in 2013. The last two seasons he has served as the bench coach.
Gabe Kapler is probably an unlikely candidate, but one who deserves to be on this list. During Kapler’s first retirement from his playing days, he immediately became a manager in the Red Sox system. He managed in the low minors for the Red Sox for one season before deciding he wanted to continue his playing career. Kapler hasn’t gotten back into managing since his ultimate retirement. Kapler has however been the Director of Player Development for the Dodgers the past few years, contributing to the revamp of their minor league system.
Jason Varitek is the long shot candidate everyone wants to know about. Is Varitek a real possibility to manage the team? Maybe a few years down the road would be a better time? We aren’t really sure what to make of his potential candidacy. However, it is obvious to anyone who watched Varitek during his playing days that he is very smart and knowledgeable about the game of baseball. He caught a record four no-hitters and won 2 World Series championships. He just seems like the kind of guy who will one day make an excellent manager.
Secondary Candidates with no experience and no Red Sox ties
Tim Wallach has been discussed as a future manager for several years now. Wallach interviewed for the Red Sox opening in 2013. He won Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year in 2013.
Sandy Alomar Jr. is another former Major League catcher with a probable future as a manager. He has been in coaching since 2008 and even got six games as the Indians interim manager in 2012, going 3-3. He has served on Terry Francona’s staff in Cleveland the last five seasons.
Dave Martinez is a guy I am surprised hasn’t gotten a manager job yet. He has served under Joe Maddon as his bench coach since 2008. They spent seven years together in Tampa Bay, and the last three in Chicago with the Cubs. Suffice it to say, the pair have experienced a great deal of success together. He would be an intriguing dark horse candidate, but one that will likely wind up managing somewhere else down the road.