Saturday, March 8, 2014
BOSTON — This time, the Red Sox didn't waste any time. It only took about 12 hours from the final out of the 2012 season for the team to tell Bobby Valentine his services wouldn't be needed next year.
That's good, because the past six months felt like they dragged on forever.
Surely Valentine wasn't shocked. He couldn't have expected to be back after the worst Sox season in 47 years. The housecleaning that began in August with a blockbuster trade is rightfully continuing in the offseason.
Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington said he'd like the search for a new manager to "take less time" than it took a year ago, when Valentine was named manager on Dec. 2. As he moves forward with the search, there are many reports he is considering several candidates who were former Red Sox employees. In no particular order, here is a list:
1. John Farrell, Toronto Blue Jays manager. If Farrell were a free agent, he might have been introduced as the new manager over the weekend. He is the frontrunner by all accounts, but it will cost the Sox compensation to get the Blue Jays to release him from the final year of his contract. And that compensation might be cost-prohibitive. As much as the Sox like him, they might not think he's worthy of giving up a major league player or a pair of top prospects.
2. Torey Lovullo, Toronto Blue Jays first-base coach. Lovullo was once the manager of the Pawtucket Red Sox. If the Sox can't work out a deal for Farrell, they could look a little farther down the bench and grab one of the men Farrell took with him when he left Fenway.
3. Tim Bogar, Red Sox bench coach. Bogar has never managed, but is a rising star. But will the team hire from within if it is truly dedicated to a thorough housecleaning? There was enough ugliness between Valentine and his coaches that the entire staff may be tainted.
4. Brad Mills, former Houston Astros manager. Things didn't go well for Mills in his 2-plus seasons managing the Astros. His 171-274 record equals a .384 winning percentage, but what would you expect from a team that had Jed Lowrie as its highest-paid player late this season? Mills was once Terry Francona's top lieutenant, and could ride in on a wave of former Red Sox glory.
5. Arnie Beyeler, Pawtucket Red Sox manager. He just led the Triple-A Red Sox to the International League championship. A good baseball man who knows the young Boston roster well, he could be an interesting (though unexpected) choice.
6. Bill Mueller, Los Angeles Dodgers special assistant. Talk about bringing the good times back to Boston, the man who drove in Dave Roberts for the tying run in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS might be interested in managing.
7. DeMarlo Hale, Baltimore Orioles third-base coach. Another one of Terry Francona's most trusted coaches, he is coaching in the playoffs now and would be a popular choice.
8. Mike Maddux, Texas pitching coach. The former Red Sox pitcher has become one of the top pitching coaches in the game, and was a candidate a year ago. He didn't want to move this far from his family then, we'll see if he's interested now.
Of course, there are plenty of other candidates who have never worked for the Red Sox. And we'll be talking about them in the days and weeks ahead.
These names are just a reminder that the future manager of the Sox may have a history with the team.
Tom Caron is the studio host for Red Sox broadcasts on the New England Sports Network. His column appears in the Press Herald on Tuesdays.