The Red Sox moved on from manager John Farrell following the team’s exit in the American League Division Series, putting Boston in the hunt for a new skipper for the first time since 2012. The decision wasn’t entirely unexpected — many reports had suggested that Farrell could be on the hot seat if the team endured a second consecutive exit in the Division Series, and Farrell was put in place by former general manager Ben Cherington as opposed to current president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.
Dombrowski will now have the opportunity to make his own hire and install a manager of his choosing in the dugout. And although Boston’s managerial post was vacated more recently than the Tigers, Mets or Phillies, it’s seemed as if the Sox are choosing from a more limited field of candidates than the other clubs seeking a new skipper. Reports have indicated that Astros bench coach Alex Cora, Diamondbacks bench coach Ron Gardenhire and recently dismissed Tigers manager Brad Ausmus are the the three likeliest candidates to replace Farrell. Dombrowski did tell reporters yesterday that he’s still deciding whether to interview others, but each of the three apparently leading candidates has reportedly had an interview.
[Related: The Red Sox’ Managerial Search]
Ausmus, of course, is no stranger to Dombrowski after managing the Tigers for four seasons. Dombrowski hired Ausmus while serving as general manager of the Tigers and worked with him until August of 2015 when Dombrowski was dismissed from his post and replaced by longtime assistant GM Al Avila. Ausmus doesn’t have the managerial experience that Gardenhire has, but he’s managed a team more recently and is likely more in tune with analytical data. MLB Network’s Peter Gammons reported that Ausmus also thoroughly impressed the Sox when he interviewed there in 2012 and would’ve been their skipper had they not been able to pry Farrell away from the Blue Jays. He’s also been tied to the Mets’ post.
Gardenhire managed the Twins for 13 seasons, giving Dombrowski an up-close look as arguably his Tigers’ top division rival. Though he’s viewed more as an “old school” baseball mind, Gardenhire is renowned for his ability to connect with players and maintain a clubhouse. He managed the Twins to a winning record over his 13 years at the helm and won the American League Central in six of his first nine seasons. Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press has called him one of the “final three” for the job (via Twitter). Gardenhire is also reportedly a candidate for the Tigers.
Cora, meanwhile, has never managed at the big league level but has managed in winter ball and is Houston skipper A.J. Hinch’s right-hand man. He’s probably the most analytically inclined candidate of the bunch and has been touted as a future big league manager for years now. He’s been popular already, drawing interest from both the Mets and the Tigers in their respective searches for a manager. Evan Drellich of CSN New England has written that Cora is the favorite, and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic has also suggested as much (on Twitter).
All that said, let’s open this up for debate (link to poll for MLBTR mobile app users)…