Madison Doucette

Tom O'Leary

Rejoice, Boston Red Sox fans, for our embattled manager John Farrell has been fired. Despite a mostly successful five-year stint at the helm, in which he led the team to three division titles and a World Series championship while also surviving cancer, the majority of “Red Sox Nation” (myself included) had been calling for his dismissal for months.

So now that our demand has been granted, it is up to President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski and his minions to appoint Farrell’s successor, with the hope that whomever they ultimately decide on will be able to shape what is already a very good team into the greatness that is mandated in Boston.

Let’s take a look at the potential candidates the rumor mill has churned out thus far.

Currently, Dombrowksi’s first choice appears to be current Houston Astros Bench Coach Alex Cora, who was announced as the team’s first confirmed interview. Cora played shortstop in Major League Baseball (MLB) for 14 seasons, including three with the Red Sox. Although he doesn’t have any previous MLB managerial experience and, at 42 years old, is relatively young for the position, Cora has spent years coaching in the Puerto Rican winter league. He also operated as a baseball analyst at ESPN and was the general manager of Puerto Rico’s team during this year’s World Baseball Classic.

Another name that has repeatedly surfaced is Ron Gardenhire, who spent 2017 with the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. Unlike Cora, Gardenhire has a wealth of experience managing in the MLB and was brought to Arizona by Torey Lovullo, who filled in as the Red Sox manager in 2015 while Farrell underwent chemotherapy. Gardenhire played in the MLB for five years and began coaching for a Minnesota Twins’ minor league affiliate in 1988. “Gardy” was eventually hired as the third base coach of the Twins and held the position for 11 years before being promoted to manager in 2002. By the time he was fired in 2014, he had amassed over a thousand career wins.

The recently sacked Brad Ausmus represents a middle ground between the two previous options on the managerial spectrum. Although still young for the job at the age of 48, he managed the Detroit Tigers from 2014 to 2017 and was actually hired by Dombrowski during his own tenure with the team. Like Cora and Gardenhire, Ausmus is also a former MLB player, as he carved out an 18-year career as one of the best defensive catchers in history. In addition to the connection he shares with Dombrowski, Ausmus also seems a likely fit for the Red Sox because he was the first runner-up for the job in 2013 when they hired Farrell.

While the aforementioned options are all enticing, there is only one man for the job in the eyes of “Red Sox Nation”: Jason Varitek. Varitek was the catcher for Boston from 1997 to 2011 while also serving as the team’s captain, which is a very rare occurrence in the baseball. Playing an integral role on the 2004 and 2007 championship teams, Varitek was later hired by Dombrowski as a special advisor to the Red Sox. There is certainly concern that he has zero prior coaching experience, but former catchers have a significant track record of transitioning into the role well, as Ausmus, Mike Matheny and Joe Girardi have recently shown.

There have been several other alternatives bandied about by the national media, such as San Francisco Giants hitting coach Hensley Muelens and Cleveland Indians first base coach Sandy Alomar Jr., but at the moment they appear to be merely backup plans. I would love for the Red Sox to give Varitek the job, but Dombrowski has always been a man of swift, decisive action and, considering Cora is his primary target, it would not be surprising if he left the interview as the next manager of the Boston Red Sox.