I recently wrote a whole article detailing why Brad Ausmus was a frontrunner to replace John Farrell as manager of the Red Sox. It wasn’t an endorsement, simply an outline of the many reasons why he is being considered and interviewed for the position.
All of the things I wrote are still true, but I wanted to take a look at the other two candidates Ol’ Davey is looking at as well, and give my two cents on who I’d choose, were the decision up to me. And no, none of these candidates is me, because I do not have the temperament to manage my beloved team. Too passionate – it’s a real blessing/curse situation.
What else can be said about the former Tigers manager that I didn’t already say in the article linked above? Well, he’s been known to be a bit prickly with the media, and the media in Detroit are lambs compared to the lions in Boston. If he can’t handle it there, there’s no way he’d be able to deal with the onslaught here. I’m apprehensive about this one, but he’s still a frontrunner because Dombrowski’s already hired him once, knows him well, and probably thinks he’d be a loyal yes-man.
Former Twins manager and current Diamondbacks bench coach Ron Gardenhire is like if you hired Mr. Feeny instead of Mr. Turner from Boy Meets World. He’s got experience and wisdom, and his managerial record with the Twins of 1,068–1,039 isn’t awful. But when it comes to relating to youngsters, he’s a product of a different generation. It’s not his fault, but he’s not what this team really needs at this juncture.
On a team full of young people, Ron Gardenhire is going to look like and be perceived as a dinosaur, and he won’t know how to connect with or motivate young players like Benintendi and Devers, who have so much potential just waiting to be tapped. I’d take him as an advisor or something along those lines, but definitely not the kind of guy you want to lead a young team into the Promised Land, because he won’t get them all the way there. Under his management, the Twins posted a playoff record of 6 wins and 21 losses. Farrell was fired about a day after we lost our second straight ALDS, and anyone who says that wasn’t a factor (including DD himself) is just nuts. Dombrowski interviewed him today, but if he’s got any sense of foresight, he won’t put the hire in Gardenhire.
PS: I love Mr. Feeny; this is just the best analogy I could come up with, and it really does fit.
The most popular – among us civilians and teams in need of a new manager – of the three candidates is also the only one who actively doesn’t fill Dombrowski’s “needs previous managerial experience” quota. Cora has been serving as bench coach for the Houston Astros, but he used to play for the Sox as a utility infielder from 2006-2008. That Boston experience might actually give him a serious edge over Gardenhire and Ausmus, because Boston sports are a unique breed, and no one understands that better than someone who’s survived the fishbowl already.
His youth is also an appealing factor; Cora is around Papi’s age, young enough to relate to the young players on this team and he’s already used to Boston’s psycho media. I think he’d be a great manager based on those reasons, but the lack of experience does worry me a bit.
Cora is also highly sought after, with both the Detroit Tigers and New York Mets expressing serious interest. I don’t think he’d choose either of them over his former team, but it’s worth noting that we’re not the only ones who want him; either he’s really good or we’re all just really desperate. Of the the three franchises, Cora has the best young team waiting here for him, and he could build a real dynasty if he’s successful at managing. And not to get ahead of myself, but if Cora leads the Red Sox to a World Series win, he’d also be the first manager since Bill Carrigan to win championships with the Red Sox as both a player and manager.
Now that all three have been interviewed, who’s your pick for Red Sox manager?
169 days until we’re all back at Fenway…