The Boston Red Sox suddenly have a job opening, and they need to fill it fast.
The Red Sox and manager Alex Cora mutually agreed to part ways Tuesday after Major League Baseball implicated Cora in a major sign-stealing scandal with the 2017 Houston Astros.
Cora is expected to be banned from baseball for at least one season, and the Red Sox are still subject to an MLB investigation into their own sign-stealing operation under Cora in 2018.
In the meantime, though, new Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom and his staff need to find a replacement for Cora in 2020.
But who could Boston bring in from outside the organization? The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal ruled out an intriguing candidate Wednesday morning in Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro, who worked with Bloom in Tampa Bay and was a finalist for the Pittsburgh Pirates' and San Francisco Giants' manager jobs this offseason.
#Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro unlikely to be a candidate for #RedSox's managerial opening. Rays staffers who have left organization to become GMs and managers in past typically have not taken other employees with them. Some teams have rules in place to that effect.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 15, 2020
Here's a look at seven other external candidates the Red Sox could hire to replace Cora:
The former Blue Jays manager had an up-and-down tenure in Toronto but has 1,581 games of managerial experience in the American League East. Gibbons stated last October he wants to return to managing after taking the 2019 season off.
A Connecticut native, Ausmus interviewed for the Red Sox manager job in 2017 before Cora won the role. He has five total years of managing experience with the Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels, although he was fired in L.A. after just one season.
Baker ranks 15th all-time in wins by an MLB manager and is one of the most well-respected figures in baseball. He hasn't managed since 2017 and has yet to manage an AL team, but if the Red Sox want to go the safe route, Baker would be a solid choice.
Here's where the list gets interesting. Like Varitek and Pedroia, Lowell is beloved in Boston after winning 2007 World Series MVP with the Red Sox. He has no managerial experience but currently works in media as an MLB Network analyst and could make the same transition to managing that Cora and Aaron Boone made.
Ibanez has a cushy gig as special assistant to Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman. The former outfielder has interest in managing at some point, though, so perhaps the chance to compete for a championship in Boston will lure him into the coaching world.
Another former Red Sox player, Loretta served as Joe Maddon's bench coach with the Chicago Cubs last season and interviewed for the manager job that David Ross eventually won. He's a less sexy candidate than Lowell but has more experience.
The Yale graduate just landed a job as "Director of Strategic Initiatives for Baseball Operations" on Theo Epstein's Cubs staff and is one of the smartest minds in the game. He had two separate stints in Boston as a player, though, so maybe the Red Sox could entice him with the chance to work with the analytically-minded Bloom.
Red Sox managerial candidates 2020: Intriguing option reportedly ruled out originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston