A year after losing hitting coach Tim Hyers to the Texas Rangers, the Boston Red Sox are now going to have to replace bench coach/outfield instructor Will Venable for the same reason.
While Alex Cora announced at the end of the season that the entire coaching staff would return in 2023, the Sox had to know that Venable and others could be squired away. Venable has interviewed for several managerial openings around the league in the past few years, including the Kansas City Royals gig last month. The Sox even considered him for the job after the 2020 season, but ultimately re-hired Cora and gave Venable the coaching job, instead.
The Rangers just made Venable their Associate Manager under new skipper Bruce Bochy, whom they coaxed out of retirement. Bochy most recently managed the San Francisco Giants from 2007-19, leading them to three World Series championships in 2010, 2012, and 2014.
On paper, Bochy and Venable project to be a solid pairing based in skill, experience, and past connections. Bochy and Venable’s father’s playing careers overlapped; Bochy made his big-league debut with the Houston Astros in 1978 and played until 1987, and Max Venable debuted with the Giants in 1979, and last played for the Angels in 1991. Both coached for the Padres, too, and Bochy managed in San Diego from 1995-2006.
The younger Venable also has the Padres in common with his new boss. Bochy played for the Padres from 83-87, coached them from 93-94, and then managed them; Venable made his big-league debut with the Padres in 2008 and was with them until 2015, when he got traded to none other than the Rangers. Venable, a Marin County native, interviewed with the Giants after Bochy retired, and was reportedly a candidate for the Rangers gig when they fired Chris Woodward back in August.
It’s also not surprising to see Venable head to Texas because of another personal connection; his former Padres teammate, Chris Young, is their General Manager. Young and Venable both attended Princeton (years apart) and were the first two athletes in Ivy League history to be first-team All-Ivy in both baseball and basketball.
It’s great to see Venable moving up in the ranks, but watching him depart amidst the current mess in Boston, it’s hard not to feel like everyone is abandoning a sinking ship. The Rangers were one of baseball’s biggest spenders last offseason and are gearing up to do the same this winter.
What are the Red Sox trying to do?