Without much surprise, the Boston Red Sox undertook the long anticipated move of firing Bobby Valentine after a season that featured the Beantown baseball team sliding from narrowly missing the playoffs to the cellar of the American League East.
Valentine managed to chase off the longtime loyal players like Kevin Youkilis, and managed so poorly that the team underwent a fire sale in August.
The team seems intent on luring John Farrell from the Toronto Blue Jays away, but he's under contract with his current team and would require giving up prospects. Given that his team only won 73 games, it may not be worth it.
Here are some other options the Red Sox could consider:
5) Terry Pendleton: The former Atlanta Braves hitting instructor got some good results with Atlanta Braves batters, and then switched to become the team's first base coach last year. I'm sure Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones would vouch for the National League 1991 MVP with the Braves.
4) Bob Melvin: The Oakland A's were left for dead until manager Bob Melvin resurrected their season, getting them the American League West crown, and sending the Texas Rangers to the wild card. Before joining the A's, he was the 2007 NL Manager of the Year. I bet the Boston Red Sox can pay better than the A's gig.
3) Chris Speier: The great Dusty Baker of the Cincinnati Reds relies on bench coach Chris Speier. He found success at the minor-league managerial level and served as the third base coach when the Arizona Diamondbacks won the World Series in 2001. He played for a number of teams over a nearly 20-year career, making the All-Star game three times.
2) Buck Showalter: He's won two Manager of the Year Awards already (1994, 2004), and could get it a third time this year for what he's done for the Baltimore Orioles. He's managed the New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Texas Rangers, too, earning 900 wins. He might prefer the Boston Red Sox job, if only for the challenge.
1) Terry Francona: I hear there's a manager who led a team to two World Series titles in the last 10 years on the market who is available. Jst kidding. Actually, the former Boston Red Sox skipper who broke the curse of the Bambino is interviewing with the Cleveland Indians.
A better bet would be Ryne Sandberg: This third base coach and infield instructor is now with the Philadelphia Phillies as Charlie Manuel's heir apparent. So why not get him before he gets away? The Chicago Cubs, who let the 1984 National League MVP slip away when there was an opening, are probably wondering that themselves.
John A. Tures is an associate professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga. He is an author of the chapter "Baseball and Ballots: Players and Politicians" in the book The Politics of Baseball, edited by Ron Briley, published by McFarland Publishing.
As a fan who watched the agonizing Game 6 of the World Series between the Red Sox and Mets in 1986, as well as Game 4 of the 2004 playoffs against the New York Yankees in 2004, the author never gives up on the team that won the first baseball game he attended at ten years old, when Fred Lynn and Carl Yastrzemski helped Boston prevail 5-1 over the Oakland A's back in 1980.
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