First pitch: Coaching staff should be clean slate for Valentine's replacement

First pitch: Coaching staff should be clean slate for Valentine's replacement
September 19, 2012, 3:53 pm
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- One of the arguments made by partisans of Bobby Valentine is that the Red Sox manager was doomed to fail, chiefly because he had little say in selecting
his coaching staff.

While the veracity of that statement is up for debate -- Valentine personally selected two coaches and approved another whom he had as a manager at another stop, while signing off
on the hiring of others -- there's a bit of irony now in place: Valentine's replacement will not have to deal with the same inherited coaching staff.

A baseball source confirmed that none of the current coaches is under contract for next season.

Part of the reason that three of Terry Francona's coaches returned to work under Valentine is that they each had another year remaining on their contracts and the Sox' clear preference
was to have them remain -- pending Valentine's approval. If the coaches were going to be paid for 2012, went the thinking, then they might as well be working for the Red Sox.

For 2013, that won't be an issue, suggesting a clean slate for whomever the Sox hire as Valentine's repalcement.

Tim Bogar, who has clashed with Valentine, is interviewing Wednesday for the Houston Astros' managerial post.

Bogar is set to interview with owner Jim Crane and GM Jeff Luhnow in the Tampa area, one of a handful of candidates under consideration.

If Bogar, who interviewed for the same job three years ago, is passed over, it seems unlikely that he'll be a candidate to manage the Sox in 2013, with Boston having focused primarily
on Toronto's John Farrell as their top choice.

Bogar is highly regarded by the organization, but after the drama of the last two seasons, it's likely the Red Sox will seek to completely makeover the coaching staff.

Hitting coach Dave Magadan's deal is also up, and he has been widely rumored to join the Chicago Cubs this off-season, reuniting with Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.

The Cubs fired long-time hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo earlier this season and replaced him with James Rowson. Rowson, it should be noted, was given the title "interim hitting coach,'' indicating the Cubs don't see him as the long-term solution.

Magadan is one of the game's most highly regarded hitting coaches. The Sox have been among the most productive offensive teams in the game during his tenure, and until injuries struck the club in the second half, the Sox remained second in runs scored in the American League.

However, Magadan has voiced his frustration at times over the lineup's inability to work counts and draw walks, resulting in wildy uneven offensive production. In 25 of 149 games this year, the Red Sox have scored either one or no runs.

Pitching coach Randy Niemann, a Valentine hire, is the second pitching coach this season and the fourth employed by the Red Sox since the end of 2010.

When Valentine is fired, there'll be no ties to anyone else in the organization for Niemann. It's not his fault that the pitching staff hasn't improved much since the team fired his predecessor, Bob McClure, but that won't save his job when his benefactor is dismissed, either.

Third base coach Jerry Royster, another of Valentine's hires, also would not seem to have a future in the organization. Royster has often served as a liaison of sorts between Valentine, his coaches and the ones Valentine inherited, and his work as a third base coach has been solid.

Still, when the man who hires you is then fired, your own options dwindle and it would seem that Royster will be one-and-done in Boston.

Two other coaches may have a chance to remain in the organization: catching instructor Gary Tuck and first base coach Alex Ochoa.

Tuck is highly valued for his work with the team's catchers and has the most seniority on the current staff. Along with Bogar, Tuck clashed with Valentine. In fact, not long after Valentine was hired, Tuck requested that he be let out of his contract to rejoin the New York Yankees. The Sox denied that request, an indication of highly thought of he is.

Now that Valentine is about to be let go, it may be Tuck can be convinced to stay under a new manager, especially if that manager is Farrell, with whom he worked well in their time together in Boston. Farrell, in fact, attempted to hire Tuck away when he joined the Blue

Alex Ochoa could also remain with the organization, though not necessarily as a coach. Ochoa has worked as both a minor league instructor and his bilingual skills make him valuable in the team's Latin American developmental program.