Drama and dysfunction surrounding Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine seems to escalate as the weeks pass, and even though team president and CEO Larry Lucchino insists that the embattled skipper will remain in his position through the end of the season, speculation is rampant about who the next Red Sox manager might be.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote a column on Friday that suggested the Red Sox are interested in current Toronto manager John Farrell. It was reported last off-season that Boston approached the Blue Jays about bringing the former Red Sox pitching coach in to replace Terry Francona, but talks did not progress since Toronto asked for Clay Buchholz as compensation.
Admitting the likelihood that Toronto might not give Boston permission to talk to Farrell since the teams are American League East rivals, Sherman added that the Red Sox would be wise to give the managerial role to Jason Varitek, who retired in spring training after a storied career in Boston.
Varitek would seemingly command the respect of his players, but he has no managerial or coaching experience, having just retired. Sherman pointed out that, like current Yankees skipper Joe Girardi has with the Bronx Bombers, Varitek boasts a championship pedigree with the Red Sox.
Robin Ventura of the White Sox and Mike Matheny of the Cardinals are first-year managers with no previous experience who are thriving. Dodgers skipper Don Mattingly is another example of a former Major League player who had no managerial experience and has done a respectable job.
The thought of Varitek managing the Red Sox is intriguing, but it would also be a risk since he is not even a season removed from being teammates with many players on the 2012 roster. Varitek, the longtime team captain, was part of last September’s monumental collapse, too.
CSNNE.com’s Sean McAdam offered his own recommendation for the next Red Sox manager, and the name is familiar to fans who long for a return to the Dirt Dawg days of 2004, when the team won its first World Series in 86 years. Bill Mueller, the starting third baseman on the 2004 World Series championship team and currently a special assistant in the Dodgers front office, would be ideal, McAdam wrote. As McAdam explained, Mueller has enough distance from his playing days in Boston, and would be similar to Ventura.
All the speculation will be irrelevant if the Red Sox decide to retain Valentine, who is under contract for 2013. Considering the turmoil enveloping the club off the field and a 58-61 record on the diamond, chances are Boston will find another manager once the regular season ends.
Current bench coach Tim Bogar is considered a future Major League manager, but he is a Francona holdover and it is believed that the Red Sox would dismiss their coaching staff and Valentine to restore stability with a clean slate.
With Farrell under contract with Toronto next season, names like Varitek and Mueller make sense, but another candidate who would command the players’ respect and get the franchise back in the right direction is Ryne Sandberg, the Hall of Fame second baseman who has extensive experience managing in the minors and is currently the skipper of Triple-A Lehigh Valley (Phillies).
Sandberg could be the Phillies’ manager of the future when Charlie Manuel is no longer there, but since he is eager for a chance to manage in the majors, he would be a perfect fit for Boston.