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Who is better than Terry Francona?

Sep 30, 2011, 2:32 AM EDT

Terry Francona AP

Terry Francona leaves his starters in too long, he’s too prone to pinch-running for his best hitters and not aggressive enough in pinch-hitting for his worst.

But so what? He’s 744-552 with two World Series championships in eight years with the Red Sox. To believe he needs to go is to believe that pretty much all managers have a shelf life and that eight years is about as long as anyone can last in the same role.

I don’t buy that. And I’m not sure where there’s an upgrade on Francona to be found. None of the retreads are attractive at all. Bobby Valentine is interesting, but it’s doubtful he’d be as open to front-office input as Francona was and that fact alone would probably rule him out for the job.

The Red Sox have also lost their two internal candidates to step in.  Brad Mills left to take over as Houston’s manager two years ago, and John Farrell was hired by Toronto prior to the 2011 season. Bench coach DeMarlo Hale is likely too close to Francona to survive a regime change. Current third-base coach Tim Bogar may be a candidate to manage someday, but he’ll need some time as a bench coach first.

So, the Red Sox would almost certainly have to look outside the organization, possibly to the Triple-A ranks. Ryne Sandberg’s name could come up. His stock continued to climb after a fine year with the Phillies’ Triple-A affiliate, though I’m not sure his ideas would mesh with Boston’s. Rays bench coach Dave Martinez is a likely candidate; he’s likely to get an interview with the White Sox. The Twins’ Scott Ullger is another bench coach with managerial potential.

There just isn’t anyone out there screaming “I need to be a major league manager.” The Red Sox will really be rolling the dice when they make the move to replace their most successful manager in franchise history. Unless he’s truly lost the clubhouse, Francona should be welcomed back.

  1. anybodyinhere - Sep 30, 2011 at 9:55 AM

    Maybe Matt Millen knows a little more about baseball than football. He’s available.

  2. Tyree Studio - Sep 30, 2011 at 10:13 AM

    Trey Hilman??

    • bigleagues - Sep 30, 2011 at 7:14 PM

      Excellent choice.

  3. deathmonkey41 - Sep 30, 2011 at 10:34 AM

    Bring back Grady Little!!!! Best manager Boston ever had- espeically in the Playoffs!!!

  4. 27yanks - Sep 30, 2011 at 11:11 AM

    As a life long Yankee fan even I see this as a stupid move.
    But as always managers get all the blame and new credit.
    Some team will be getting a great new mamager, hopefully not in the American League.

    • 27yanks - Sep 30, 2011 at 11:12 AM

      . . oh and GO YANKS ! ! ! !

  5. mogogo1 - Sep 30, 2011 at 12:24 PM

    Knee jerk reaction that will put HUGE pressure on whoever the new guy turns out to be. Winning it all will be the expected outcome…anything less and the guy will be viewed as a total bust.

  6. madisonave99 - Sep 30, 2011 at 5:33 PM I’m actually going to humor you and explain my handle…i’m a NY Giants fan and their defense back in the 50’s and 60’s was nicknamed the Madison Ave Giants…and btw, how childish is making fun of someone’s username?? People usually resort to things like that when they can’t bring anything worthwhile to the conversation at hand

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