Here are 10 top candidates to become Red Sox manager
The next Red Sox manager will inherit a good team, one that will be enhanced by things the previous manager should have had.
He will have a power bat in the middle of the order that Dave Dombrowski will either sign as a free agent or trade for. Then he can cross his fingers and hope that his starters can win a game or two in the playoffs. That’s what John Farrell did not get, and today he finds himself without a job.
So who will that lucky new manager be? Who will be the one to take the slings and arrows of talk-show callers and Twitter types? Let’s make a list.
1. Brad Ausmus, former Detroit manager — He’s the leader in the clubhouse, so to speak. Let go by the Tigers in late September, Ausmus has always wanted the Red Sox job. As Boston general manager, Ben Cherington said Ausmus was the most impressive person he interviewed when the Sox had a managerial opening in 2012. But the job went to Farrell after he was able to navigate out of his Toronto contract and the Red Sox compensated the Jays.
Ausmus was hired in Detroit by Dombrowski, and the Red Sox president of baseball ops has spoken very highly of Ausmus, even though he didn’t have a winning record with the Tigers and there was an uprising involving Victor Martinez and Justin Verlander late this season.
While Ausmus lives in the San Diego area, he owns a house on Cape Cod.
2. Ron Gardenhire, Arizona bench coach — An old-school manager with great interpersonal skills. He can relate to young players and has a stern side to him. He battled through prostate cancer this season, but returned to help the team’s decision-making group under manager Torey Lovullo. A longtime Twins manager, Gardenhire was very successful there until a rebuild began in Minnesota and he was out.
3. Alex Cora, Houston bench coach — He has been with a successful program and helped bring along some of the younger Astros players such as Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa. Excellent communicator. He also has Red Sox experience, having played here.
He would be terrific at handling the media (an important part of being the Boston manager), as he was always media-friendly as a player and then worked for ESPN. The Red Sox also have a significant Latin presence that he would be good for.
4. Bo Porter, special assistant to the Atlanta GM — Porter managed the Astros when they were in their rebuild (2013-14). He was a vocal guy with a presence. He would have been the Braves manager but the organization decided to stay with Brian Snitker. Porter would be highly recommended by Roland Hemond, who is a friend of Dombrowski’s.
5. Charlie Montoyo, Tampa Bay bench coach — An up-and-coming candidate. Montoyo was the Rays’ hitting coach last season and was promoted to bench coach. He is expected to get interviews.
6. Terry Collins, former Mets manager — Certainly experienced at running a baseball team. Had a tough time at the end trying to manage an arrogant pitching staff.
7. Eric Wedge, Toronto consultant — Dombrowski’s Tigers went against Wedge’s Indians and then Mariners for many years. He’s a former AL Manager of the Year (2007) who has stepped away for a while. He, too, is a former Red Sox player who gets what it takes to manage here. Wedge is still only 49 years old with 10 years of experience.
8. DeMarlo Hale, Toronto bench coach — Another competent coach who knows the Red Sox culture in and out from his years with Terry Francona. Hale’s rise to manager is long overdue. Tremendous with young players.
9. Brad Mills, Cleveland bench coach — A veteran of many years under Francona who branched out to manage the Astros during their rebuilding days (2010-12). Well-respected around the game and would bring so many of Francona’s traits here. Also knows the culture, having coached here for a few years.
10. Gabe Kapler, Dodgers director of player development — Kapler pulled himself out of the running for the Dodgers job when Dave Roberts became involved. Kapler, too, was a player here — part of the 2004 championship team — and managed in the Sox system.
The next manager of the Red Sox may not even be on this list. We left out Brian Butterfield and Gary DiSarcina because Dombrowski said at his press conference that he would likely not consider anyone from the current staff. We left off Jason Varitek because Dombrowski indicated he didn’t see anyone from the organization getting the job.
We also left off Jim Leyland, who has said he doesn’t want to manage anymore. He was part of Dombrowski’s tree.
We left off Tony La Russa, one of Dombrowski’s closest friends, because it doesn’t appear La Russa, at age 73, would want to manage again.
If he loses in the National League playoffs, Washington manager Dusty Baker could be available. And who’s at the end of his contract? Yankees manager Joe Girardi.
In the second tier, we’d have Fredi Gonzalez, the former Braves manager who has ties with Red Sox special assistant Frank Wren. We have Manny Acta, the former Indians manager.
The Red Sox could always look at Pete Mackanin, recently bumped upstairs with the Phillies, and Dombrowski’s longtime Tigers hitting guy, Lloyd McClendon, who has seven years of managing experience with the Pirates and Mariners. Ex-White Sox manager Robin Ventura is also someone Dombrowski has competed against.
It really could be anybody. There’s Marlins bench coach Tim Wallach and longtime Giants bench and third base coach Ron Wotus. There’s Reds bench coach Jim Riggleman, Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez, and Yankees first base coach Tony Pena, the former Red Sox catcher who was once AL Manager of the Year with the Royals. There’s Larry Bowa, the fiery Phillies coach and former manager.
There are many excellent baseball men who deserve a chance to manage a big league team for the first time and for a second and third time.
While we’re not sure what the fit will be, we know Dombrowski prefers to have ties with his man, which is why if we were betting, we’d have to give the nod to Ausmus.