Identifying Francona's successor

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Identifying Francona's successor

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
Now what?

Now that the Red Sox have to undertake their first managerial search since the winter of 2003 -- among current American League managers, only Mike Scioscia and Ron Gardenhire have been in their respective positions longer than Terry Francona was in his -- where do they go?

It's unlikely the Sox will revisit their last interview list, since it was eight years ago.

Joe Maddon has established himself as one of the best managers in the game. Bud Black, who declined to be interviewed because he didn't want to leave the West Coast, just finished his second season with the San Diego Padres. And Glenn Hoffman is Black's third-base coach and unlikely to be a candidate again.

That means the Red Sox will start their search anew.

Much has changed in Boston in that span, too. The Red Sox have won two World Series, enjoy stability in their management and ownership group, and have, the past two seasons excepted, one of the sport's model franchises.

Given that much was made about Francona's difficulties "reaching'' players, especially in the final month or so of this season, communication will be of huge importance.

And because modern players need to vet their new bosses, it's quite likely the new manager will be someone who has already managed in the big leagues, preferrably with some success.

The demands on a manager in Boston are tough enough as it is. To think that someone could succeed here without having at least some exposure to the challenges of the job elsewhere is highly unlikely.

"(Having managed in the big leagues is) preferred,'' said general Theo Epstein, "but I don't think we're in a position to put any formal pre-requisites on the job. Experience is important, but if we found the perfect candidate who hadn't happened to have previous managerial experience, I think we'd be able to look past that.''

Again, though, if some players in the 2011 Red Sox clubhouse tuned out Francona -- who had won two championships and boasted the best winning percentage among big league managers over the last eight seasons -- what are the odds that they would respect and respond to a first-time manager?

DeMarlo Hale, who has interviewed in Houston, Seattle and Toronto in recent offseasons, might otherwise be an attractive candidate. But despite the fact that Hale's association with the Red Sox dates back decades -- he was drafted as a player in 1983 -- he's probably too closely linked to Francona for management's tastes.

Clearly, the Red Sox want a fresh start, which would seem to eliminate third-base coach Tim Bogar, another worthy in-house candidate.

"Name'' managers are unlikely fits. Bobby Valentine, whose name has already been thrown around, is known to be a favorite of owner John Henry, but Valentine is probably a little too strong-willed to mesh with GM Theo Epstein.

As for Joe Torre, it seems his managerial career is over, and at 71, he would represent a short-term commitment.

The new manager will have to be familiar and open to some of the game's advanced metrics and willing to fully utilize the team's extensive advance scouting reports.

An interesting candidate to consider might be Tony Pena, currently serving as the Yankees' bench coach. Pena is widely reagrded as a good communicator, an at-times in-your-face motivator and a brilliant teacher. It helps, too, that Pena enjoyed a long, successful playing career and has managed in the big leagues (Kansas City) before.

Pena is, of course, fluent in Spanish, no small point in today's game, in an organization that boasts plenty of Latino talent on its big-league roster and in its farm system.

And given the obsession that some in the ownership group have with the Yankees, there would be the added bonus to taking away a key part of their rivals' major league staff.

One benefit for the Red Sox is that they're getting an early start, with Francona's departure coming just two days after the season ended. Another point in their favor: only one other major league managerial vacancy currently exists -- Chicago White Sox -- meaning the Sox won't have to compete with many clubs for their top choice.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Quotes, notes and stars: Barnes takes the blame in loss

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Quotes, notes and stars: Barnes takes the blame in loss

BOSTON -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 10-4 loss to the Kansas City Royals:

QUOTES

“That one’s one me. I’ve got to do a better job of securing that lead and getting out of that inning.” - Matt Barnes on giving up the lead.

“When he tries to go down and away to right-handers, the ball’s leaking back to the middle a bit. That was the case against [Lorenzo] Cain [and Raul] Mondesi in this case tonight. It’s on the plate first pitch, bases loaded he’s trying to get a strike to get ahead. But in general, Barnes has pitched to the edge at times and missed, and then when he’s on the plate it’s probably found the middle of the plate a bit too much.” - John Farrell on Barnes’ outing.

“I think everybody in that bullpen believes in every single person down there.” - Barnes said on the bullpen.

“It was good, everything was good . . . Just the fastball command was a little out of control.” - Eduardo Rodriguez on his left hamstring and his performance.

 

NOTES

* David Ortiz launched his 31st home run of the season, which also marked the 534th of his career, tying Jimmie Foxx for 18th on the all-time home run chart.

* Mookie Betts recorded his Major League-leading 56th multi-hit game of the season.

* Jackie Bradley Jr. finished 1-for-2, bumping his average to .317 (77-for-243) at Fenway this season.

* The Red Sox grounded into four double plays, tying their season high on 6/12 against Minnesota.

* Matt Barnes’ ERA jumped from 3.68 before Sunday’s game to 4.45 after giving up 5 runs without recording an out.

 

STARS

1) Raul Mondesi

Mondesi’s bases-clearing triple in the sixth opened the floodgates and gave Kansas City the lead they would continue to build off.

2) Matt Strahm

 Strahm relieved Yordano Ventura after his short 4 and 1/3-inning outing. He held the Red Sox scoreless through 2.2 innings to earn his second win of the season.

3) Salvador Perez

Perez launched his sixth home run in his last eight games against Boston. He became the Royal to homer in three-straight games at Fenway since Billy Butler did in 2011.

First impressions: Red Sox implode in 6th inning, lose to Royals, 10-4

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First impressions: Red Sox implode in 6th inning, lose to Royals, 10-4

BOSTON -- First impressions from the Red Sox' 10-4 loss to the Kansas City Royals:

 

Boston’s bullpen continues to be a roll of the dice every night.

This time Matt Barnes was the latest reliever to suffer from the plague that’s filled this bullpen all season.

Part of it was bad luck on two perfectly placed balls, the other part was Raul Mondesi lacing a triple, and Lorenzo Cain smacking a single.

Robbie Ross was better, but not by much.

No lead seems safe in the hands of any Boston reliever.

 

David Ortiz keeps putting himself in the same breath as legendary Hall of Famers.

This time it was former Red Sox great Jimmie Foxx, who Ortiz is now tied with at 534 home runs, 18th all time.

Early in the season he’d match a legendary player every so often, it was impressive. Now it’s almost to be expected every night he plays.

Next on the all-time home run list is Yankee Legend Mickey Mantle with 536.

 

The bottom of the order continues to play an important role in Boston’s run production.

Chris Young got things started in the fifth, then Sandy Leon and Jackie Bradley Jr. kept it rolling so both Brock Holt and Xander Bogaerts could cash in all three runners.

Moving JBJ back to ninth Saturday proved to be a good move, and moving Leon back down with his recent scuffles seems to be the best move, too.

Not only can they knock each other in any given instance, but they also put Dustin Pedroia (or Holt) and Bogaerts in run-producing situations, as opposed to just setting the table.

 

Chris Young’s hamstring shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

He was able to leg out the soft grounder to third base in the first inning.

Young has lost a step or two with age, but it seemed like he opened it up on the play.

Hopefully that’s a sign of the end of the injuries in left field this season.

 

Junichi Tazawa looked strong.

That’s more so an observation of his fastball reaching 94 mph.

Tazawa has a long way to go before he’s back to where he was, but the righty took a step in the right direction Sunday night. He retired Kansas City’s 2-3-4 hitters in his first inning and working past a leadoff single in his second inning of work.