Terry Francona is now just a memory in Red Sox lore and the search for his replacement will soon start. But who does Boston turn to to get them out of this excruciatingly long two year playoff drought (Sorry Pirates fans). Do they go with a current or former manager who can add discipline inside the clubhouse or do they go with say a bench coach who is an up-and-comer and his overdue for a managerial job. Here are my choices that the Red Sox brass should consider to fill the big shoes of Tito Francona.
- Willie Randolph- Orioles Bench Coach
I know what you are thinking, why replace the manager of the team who had the biggest September collapse with the manager who led the team who had the second largest September collapse. The 2007 New York Mets had a seven game lead with 17 to go but lost 12 of the next 17 and the NL East crown. Perhaps, Randolph will most be remembered for leading a team to an epic collapse but lest we forget in 2006, Randolph led the Mets to a tie for the best record in baseball with their crosstown rival Yankees. Since the Mets fired Randolph they have not posted a winning record and much of the blame for the Mets woes are squarely on Fred Wilpon. I still think, with the right team and ownership around him, Willie Randolph can still get it done as manager.
- Dave Martinez- Rays Bench Coach
Dave Martinez, Joe Maddon's right hand man, has been the rays bench coach since 2007 and in that time the Rays have turned a complete 180 in their franchise. Martinez is a former Major Leaguer not far removed from the game (retired 2001) and can relate to the players in the clubhouse a little better. Also, the Rays seem to win with nothing. Imagine if he came to Boston with all the talent that they have it could be a great move by Boston.
- Bobby Valentine- Former Mets manager current ESPN analyst
Bobby V's name has been floating around it seems with every managerial vacancy and I can see why, Valentine seems to be a likable person and has a fiery personality which will give the Red Sox some much needed discipline. On the other hand, Bobby V's record isn't all that great, 15 years 1,117-1,072 and just two postseason appearances (1999 and 2000). Valentine has made it no secret that he would like to return to the game and this could be the last time is name gets floated around.
- Tony LaRussa- Current Cardinals manager
This one seems to be a long shot but LaRussa could be a free agent after the season (pending on whether the option will be picked up). LaRussa is a winner, period. If the Red Sox somehow get LaRussa, he will be sure to bring Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan along. Duncan is regarded as being one of the best pitching coaches in baseball and with a pitching staff that imploded down the stretch, Duncan's expertise will be greatly needed.
- Ryne Sandberg- Phillies AAA manager and Hall of Fame shortstop
Ryne Sandberg is known as one of the greatest shortstops to play the game and a hot managerial prospect. So why not hire a guy who is long overdue for a managerial job. I understand the reservations of hiring someone for a large market team with no Major League managerial or coaching experience but he has done a great job within the Cubs and Phillies minor leagues and some say Charlie Manuel's heir apparent. Sandberg however would much prefer the Cubs job if Mike Quade gets fired so it is very unlikely he goes to Boston
- Jason Varitek- Red Sox Catcher
This one is WAY out there but here me out. Tek doesn't have much left in the tank and is very well respected within the team. Ideally former catchers make better managers, such as Joe Torre, Mike Scioscia, Joe Girardi, Connie Mack, etc., and people think Varitek is already a manager in waiting so why not. I mean if Jake Taylor can do it in Major League II why not Varitek.
Whoever gets this prime job will be under a huge microscope that is the Boston media. So to whoever gets the job I say...... Good Luck to ya, Buddy.