Red Sox: Candidates to replace John Farrell as manager

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: Dave Dombrowski the President of Baseball Operations of the Boston Red Sox stands at home plate before a game against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on September 18, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox won 5-4. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: Dave Dombrowski the President of Baseball Operations of the Boston Red Sox stands at home plate before a game against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on September 18, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox won 5-4. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images) /

A look at some of the potential candidates on Dave Dombrowski’s radar to replace John Farrell as manager of the Boston Red Sox.

The Boston Red Sox are in need of a new manager after John Farrell was released from the position on Wednesday.

Farrell’s departure comes as no surprise in the wake of another first-round postseason exit. The decision on who takes his place won’t be as easy. It takes thick skin to manage in a city like Boston, where simply qualifying for the playoffs is never good enough. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski will seek a new manager that can handle the pressure that comes with living up to those lofty expectations. The next manager will need to be someone capable of leading a team built to win now, but also one who can relate to the young core of this team.

Dombrowski has yet to reveal names of any candidates he intends to interview for the position but we can narrow down a list of options based on the traits the Red Sox are looking for. Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports that Dombrowski’s priority is to target those with Major League coaching experience.

"“Being in a dugout during a game and seeing what the manager encounters is probably helpful,” Dombrowski said. “I do think it would be difficult for a person more so [in Boston] than in some other places to walk directly onto the field without some on-field managerial experience at some level or big league coaching.”"

This rules out fan-favorite Jason Varitek, who many feel has a future as a manager despite that the former Red Sox catcher has no coaching experience at any level. As much as everyone would love to see David Ortiz in the dugout, the odds of Big Papi becoming the next manager are about as likely as him suiting up to return to the lineup.

Red Sox bench coach Gary DiSarcina is rumored to be a candidate for a managerial position but it probably won’t come in Boston. Dombrowski essentially ruled him out already by stating he had no internal candidates in mind.

The two primary candidates that Abraham mentions in his article are Arizona Diamondbacks bench coach Ron Gardenhire and Houston Astros bench coach Alex Cora. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale concurs with the idea of considering Gardenhire, while ESPN’s Buster Olney and Scott Lauber both consider Cora to be a strong candidate.

Gardenhire managed the Minnesota Twins for over a decade, battling in an AL Central division he once shared with Dombrowski. Boston’s president of baseball ops is quite familiar with his strengths as a manager and he comes with the experience Dombrowski craves. Gardenhire owned a winning record (.507 winning percentage) over his 13 seasons managing the Twins, capturing six division titles.

While Gardenhire has the necessary experience, I’m a bit lukewarm on his potential. His Twins finished last in their division in three of his last four seasons in Minnesota and he hasn’t held a manager position since he left following the 2014 season. He owns a 6-21 postseason record as a manager and his teams never reached the World Series. He’s capable of taking a talented roster to the postseason but can he get them over the hump to the promised land?

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We have no evidence to suggest that Cora can do it either considering he’s never managed a big league team before. Yet his name has long been floated around as the next great rookie manager. He’s well respected around baseball and has ties to the Red Sox organization, having played in Boston from 2005-2008. The 41-year old may also stand a better chance of connecting with the young core of Boston’s roster – something Farrell never managed to do.

I’ll take the untapped potential of Cora over a known commodity who hasn’t achieved the ultimate goal that this organization is focused on.

The other potential candidate on people’s radar is Brad Ausmus, who was recently released by the Detroit Tigers. Dombrowski was the one to give Ausmus his first shot at managing when he was at the helm of the Tigers organization. If he saw something in Ausmus once before, perhaps he will again. In four seasons with Detroit, Ausmus claimed one division title but never won a postseason game. Ausmus is in the running as a top-three candidate but he’s a distant third in my mind.

There are a few other under the radar options that may warrant some consideration. NBCSBoston’s Evan Drellich mentions San Francisco Giants hitting coach Hensley Meulens as an option, citing his ability to speak multiple languages as an enticing factor. Cleveland Indians first base coach Sandy Alomar Jr. could be a dark-horse candidate.

Speaking of Cleveland, after their shocking first-round exit at the hands of the New York Yankees, could Terry Francona be on the chopping block? Bringing arguably the most successful manager in franchise history back to Boston seems like a pipedream. The Indians would be foolish to let him go. A reunion with a Red Sox ownership group that allowed for a smear campaign to follow him out of town probably crosses Boston off Tito’s list even if he did become available.

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It may take some time for Dombrowski to narrow down his options but there are two things we know for certain. The next manager will have a drastically different personality than Farrell and it won’t take long for Red Sox Nation to pick apart any flaw they find.