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After months of speculation, the Boston Red Sox made the decision not bring manager Ron Roenicke back after the 2020 season. The decision came after the team went 23-36, finishing dead last in the American League east and third to last in the American League as a whole. That said, it was to be expected.
About a month ago, we published an article about rebuilding the Boston Red Sox and in that article, step two was dedicated to finding a new manager. This article will expand on that step. This is about ten people Boston should consider as a future manager.
To be on this list, the person must be considered a legitimate contender, not a fantasy or fan hire. While those can be fun, they’re also highly unrealistic for the most part. Also to be clear, this is not a top ten list and it’s not in order of who has the best chance to be hired: it’s ten names to watch for in the Boston Red Sox managerial search.
Jason Varitek, Former Red Sox Player
Probably the most popular name around Red Sox Nation, Varitek was the type of type of player that could lead a team easily. However, despite fans pining for him, and even his wife stirring the pot on Instagram, he’s seemed quite content in his role. Maybe he’ll be back in the dugout in a few years but now isn’t his time.
Dustin Pedroia, Current Red Sox Player
Fans have loved Pedroia since his rookie season back in 2007. His leadership and aggressiveness on the field would make for him a good manager. That said, he intended on playing this season and he missed out due to injury. Chances are, he’ll try to play at least one more season and put off retirement.
Alex Cora, Former Red Sox Manager
Cora is just finishing up a one-year suspension for the sign-stealing scandal that cost him his job. After coaching Boston to a World Series championship in 2018, Cora would be expected to garner consideration.
However, unless ownership intervenes and tells Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom to hire him, Cora will probably not be the manager of the team next year. It’s not because he was bad, it’s because when you rebuild following a scandal of any kind, changes have to be made before the culture is tarnished further.
Now then, on with the list:
10. Barry Larkin, Cincinnati Reds’ Special Assistant
For the last decade, National Baseball Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin has been on teams’ radars to manage. He turned down the Detroit Tigers in 2013 and in 2014 he interviewed with the Tampa Bay Rays. He’s since been working with Cincinnati as a special assistant and an infield instructor.
In an interview, Larkin said this on his future as a possible manager, “Never say never. The conditions have to be right and, you know, the manager’s job, at least in my opinion, is not about just having the manager’s position. It’s about having the support system to support that manager’s position.” Given that Cincinnati is going to the playoffs as a wild card team, it’s safe to assume manager David Bell isn’t going anywhere.
If Boston could provide the support that Bloom had while in Tampa Bay with manager Kevin Cash, then he’d be a good fit. His defensive prowess would be invaluable to this young infield. Plus his status as team captain from 1997 through his retirement in 2004 makes him a leader on the field. The only downside may be some growing pains but it hasn’t hurt Boston too much in recent years.
9. Kyle Snyder, Tampa Bay Rays’ Pitching Coach
Boston’s biggest struggle this season was their pitching. How does a team remedy that? They bring in someone who can inspire their pitchers and know their limits. Enter Kyle Snyder.
Under Snyder, Tampa Bay has been in the top five in earned run average the last two years. With Boston’s top pitching prospects coming up in the next year or two, to have someone like Snyder would be a huge addition.
Also given that he’s played in Boston, especially during the postseason, means he knows how to handle himself in the big game moments. He may only be 43 but he has a bright future ahead of him and a return to Boston could be a way to realize it.
8. Joe Espada, Houston Astros’ Bench Coach
Even with Houston embroiled in their own sign-stealing controversy, Joe Espada was seen as one of the top managerial targets last year. While he ultimately didn’t fill any of the vacancies, it’s telling that he was targeted by at least three teams last year.
What makes him an attractive candidate is that he’s held several positions with the Miami Marlins and New York Yankees, including third base coach, infield coach, even a stint as special assistant to New York general manager Brian Cashman. The fact that he’s had some front office experience in addition to his coaching experience makes him worth a look.
The really big question is how involved he was with the sign-stealing scandal, if he was at all. It’s already cost two managers who left the organizations their jobs (Cora and former New York Mets’ manager Carlos Beltran). The perception would be horrible but considering teams have been lining up to talk with him, maybe it’s not as big of a deal some in the media have made it out to be.
It comes with an extra risk because if electronic sign-stealing blows up any bigger, former Houston players and coaches will be put under even more scrutiny.
7. Carlos Febles, Boston Red Sox Third Base Coach
Febles has been with the Boston Red Sox organization since 2007. In that time, he’s been a hitting coach for all their single A minor league teams, before being promoted to manager in 2011. From there he was promoted to manager of all the single A teams and even their double A squad before getting hired to coach third base for the Major League roster.
In that time as manager for the double A team, he coached quite a few future Major League players, including pitchers Jalen Beeks and Brandon Workman, outfielder Andrew Beintendi, and third baseman Rafael Devers. Simply put, he’s had some success raising young talent. Given that Boston is going through a youth movement, he would be a good manager to grab.
His 400-504 win-loss record in double A may scare off Bloom and company but if they’re willing to look past that, they’d probably get someone who can develop and cultivate talent.
6. A.J. Hinch, Houston Astros’ Former Manager
This may be one of the more controversial picks because of how his tenure in Houston ended. That said, A.J. Hinch is still a good manager, especially with budding talent. Though his years in Arizona weren’t great, he knew how to use the talent in once he got to Houston and used them to their full extent.
Of course there’s going to be a black cloud over him because of the sign-stealing scandal in Houston that ultimately cost him his job. However, teams like the Detroit Tigers have seemingly inquired about his services, meaning that he could be back.
Though probably more of a long shot, it wouldn’t hurt for Boston to at least kick the tires. He was a good coach that saw his players put him in a bad situation.
5. Ron Washington, Atlanta Braves’ Third Base Coach
There was a time when Ron Washington was one of baseball’s top managers. From 2006 through 2014, Washington managed the Texas Rangers to two World Series, four straight 90-win seasons and became the winningest manager in the history of the Rangers.
Then he resigned over an extramarital affair as a means to reconcile with his family. He hasn’t managed since.
Though he had struggled with not only extramarital issues, but also tested positive for cocaine in 2010, Washington may be the guy Boston would love to have. He’s been around the game for a long time and he’s the type of guy who can get the best of his talent and run with it. If he can avoid the temptations that come with a major market like Boston, Washington could be a diamond in the rough that finally gets that World Series ring that’s avoided his grasp.
4. Kevin Long, Washington Nationals’ Hitting Coach
Kevin Long may be the best hitting coach in baseball right now. The work he’s done with the Washington Nationals is nothing short of astonishing. Considering it was a young team, who just lost their superstar outfielder Bryce Harper in free agency to a division rival, nobody thought they’d make the playoffs for a couple of years.
Instead, they won the World Series last season.
Even with the drop off this year, Washington’s bats have been good. They finished in the top ten in RBIs and hits, as well as finished with the second lowest amount of strike outs and fourth in batting average. Though hitting hasn’t been Boston’s Achilles’ heel, it wouldn’t hurt to help get the bats to the next level.
Of course they’d need a good pitching coach for this to work but if done right it could be a very good move. In this modern game of baseball, it’s built for hitters to score more runs and produce more offense. How much more fitting would it be to bring Long in and see the team succeed with the bat?
3. Matt Quatraro, Tampa Bay Rays’ Bench Coach
The Tampa Bay Rays are more likely than not the blue print for the Boston Red Sox rebuild going forward. The difference is Boston could spend more money on talent, meaning that if Bloom and General Manager Brian O’Halloran could grab anyone they see fitting this scheme. With that being the case, Matt Quatraro becomes a very attractive coaching prospect.
Quatraro has been Tampa Bay Manager Kevin Cash’s right hand man for the last three season. Considering how good Cash has been, he probably did pick up quite a bit as a bench coach. If that’s the case, he’d be ripe for the picking.
The risk involved though is a very simple one: what if he doesn’t pan out? This is a mistake that while costly, wouldn’t completely set back the team. It has the least risk but potentially the most reward.
2. Mark Kotsay, Oakland Athletics’ Quality Control Coach
Last offseason, Mark Kotsay was a favorite for two managerial jobs: San Francisco and Boston. Both ultimately passed on him but that should tell quite a bit.
While his coaching tenure has been brief, his front office work with the San Diego Padres as well as his work with San Diego and Oakland’s coaching staff could pay off. His experience around the game makes him a hot commodity but his inexperience as a manager may hinder him.
1. Sandy Alomar Jr., Cleveland Indians’ Bench Coach
Since 2011, Sandy Alomar Jr. has been Cleveland’s bench coach. In that time, he’s worked under manager Terry Francona, arguably the most respected manager in baseball. Most people agree he’s the most ready.
Alomar would be the safest move Boston could make. Like Quatraro, the only question is if he doesn’t work out. It wouldn’t be a flashy move, however it could be the right move.