BOSTON (CBS) – If you think about it, this one is huge for the future of the Boston Red Sox. The next manager could have an impact on the franchise, one way or the other, for years to come. And here’s why:
As rumors swirl that John Henry may be selling the team (or a portion of it), you have to wonder where he sits when it comes to owning this franchise. Henry, Tom Werner, and Larry Lucchino have been on the “ride of a lifetime” for the past 10 years. Two World Series titles, a renovated Fenway Park, and the 100 year anniversary celebration of that park.
But what’s left to accomplish? Yes, you never want to leave a franchise at a low point, but does Henry still enjoy what he’s doing? My guess is yes because of his love for the game, but I’m sure it gets tiresome at times.
If a new manager comes in and wins, then the fun will return.
2) General Manager
This is the one Ben Cherington has to get right. Yes, Larry Lucchino will do what he did the last time and take Ben’s choice to Henry and Werner for approval. Last year Dale Sveum was rejected and Lucchino offered up Bobby Valentine. That choice failed miserably.
One would assume that this will be Ben’s call all the way. Expect ownership to be more open to going with his call on this one. And you have to like the candidates we’ve seen so far: Tim Wallach, Tony Pena, Brad Ausmus, and Demarlo Hale all appear to have strengths, especially with the success of Mike Matheny and Robin Ventura this season. Yes, you would like to see managerial experience, but it doesn’t have to be a deal breaker.
We also are awaiting a yes or no on John Farrell. For those that continue to say, “what has he done in Toronto?” just remember this; Terry Francona never finished better than 8 games below .500 in his four years in Philly before coming to Boston.
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With that said, Ben needs to pick the right guy here. He needs to find an almost perfect candidate. A guy that will be able to handle all pressures, second-guessing and tough love from ownership. A guy that is a solid in-game manager. A guy that can get along with Ben and his Baseball Ops staff. A guy that can take their philosophy and execute it on the field. A guy that can handle the media and everything that goes with it. And, most importantly, a guy that can gain the respect and trust from his players from Day One. That marriage needs to be a strong one, especially here in Boston.
Cherington’s choice will probably “make or break” his tenure of GM of the Boston Red Sox. The players he brings in are critical, but his manager has to be able to work hand in hand with him.
The players need to buy in from Day One. Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester, David Ortiz (assuming he re-signs here), and all the youngsters need to get on the same page with the manager from the second they meet down in Fort Myers. The manager needs to establish that he is in charge. “Here are my rules, let’s go…” Time to come together. The players, I believe, were together in 2012 but it wasn’t enough.
The manager also needs to be able to connect the players to the coaches, the GM, and to the ownership group. The word “trust” is a big one. They all need to feel that they are in it together. That was, and continues to be, a huge area of concern for this organization.
The list of potential candidates is a strong one. The question is, are any of these candidates strong enough? Right now we don’t know. John Farrell and Demarlo Hale know this organization as well as anyone, Tony Pena has managed before in Kansas City (think Tito here), and Tim Wallach and Brad Ausmus have strong credentials as well.
Not to mention, there are still some mystery candidates out there.
I believe the Red Sox are teetering. They are close to returning to their winning ways and being a solid team for years to come due to the influx of youth that’s here. But, they are also close to collapsing and having to re-load with the hope of maybe starting to win again in 2014. And, that’s nowhere near good enough around here.
So, good luck to Ben Cherington and the new manager. Let’s hope it’s a marriage that lasts a long, long time.
Follow WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche on twitter @RochieWBZ.