Potentially unpopular opinion here; Ron Gardenhire is the best managerial candidate for the Boston Red Sox. Not Jason Varitek, Alex Cora, or Brad Ausmus. Gardenhire has everything the Sox are looking for in their next skipper.
Gardenhire is widely known as one of the best managers in Twins history. In 2,107 games managing the Twins between 2002-2014, Gardenhire notched 1,068 wins. He brought Minnesota to the postseason six times total, including his first three seasons as manager. Excluding his last four years as manager, during which the Twins began rebuilding, his record is very impressive as he went 803-656. He has even dealt with past Red Sox legends, including Big Papi, who he managed in his first year with the team.
Gardenhire has recently been the bench coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks, so the Sox wouldn’t exactly be pulling him out of retirement to manage their club. Out of the other three candidates combined, only one has managed a big league team: Brad Ausmus, a former catcher who went 314-332 in four years as the Tigers skipper. In the four years, his playoff record was 0-3. Cora is currently involved in a long playoff run as the Houston Astros’ bench coach, which could lead to some sort of experience attracting the Sox (whom he played for 2007-2008), yet he has never had his own team. Varitek is beloved by Sox fans everywhere after his playing days, but has no real managerial experience. He has only been a special assistant to both Cherington and Dombrowski.
The past three Sox managers – two of which had postseason success – all had past managerial experience. Terry Francona turned out well (to say the least), Bobby Valentine was a disaster (to say the least) and John Farrell won a World Series and got the team to the postseason multiple times, including back-to-back Division titles.
If the pattern of hiring seasoned candidates continues, the Sox will go with Gardenhire as their next manager; he and Ausmus are the only viable options. The man has playoff experience and wins under his belt and he knows how to take care of a team. From his days with the Twins, Sox fans know Gardenhire can be successful providing a security blanket that is much needed entering the offseason.