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Potential Red Sox managerial candidates to succeed Terry Francona

09.30.11 at 12:52 pm ET
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Dave Martinez (left) is considered a hot managerial prospect after helping Joe Maddon turn the Rays into one of the top teams in the American League. (AP)

UPDATE: The Red Sox and Terry Francona have agreed to part ways with the team not picking up the two-year option on the manager’s contract.

While one might assume that Boston would look to hire a veteran major league manager with a background of success, John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino have hired one manager with no MLB experience (Grady Little, who was hired one year before Theo Epstein became GM) and another with a losing record (Francona). When Francona was hired, he was selected over Joe Maddon, who did not have any big league managerial experience at the time, while other candidates (DeMarlo Hale, Glenn Hoffman and Bud Black – the latter of whom declined to be interviewed) had never managed in the big leagues.

It is clear, then, that track record is not necessarily the most important thing to Boston’s front office.

Here are are some possible candidates to inherit the reins from Francona.

Dave Martinez — The bench coach for the Rays, Martinez played for nine MLB teams between 1986 and 2001. Considered one of the better defensive outfielders in the game during his career, Martinez was amongst the league leaders in assists and fielding percentage several times in his career. He was hired by Tampa Bay as bench coach in 2007.

DeMarlo Hale — As the Red Sox bench coach for the past two years, Hale would be the most logical in-house hire. Hale has managerial experience at the minor league level. He was named Minor League Manager of the Year by several publications in 1999 when he led the Double-A Trenton Thunder to a 92-50 record. Hale received interest from several MLB teams in the 2010 offseason as a possible managerial candidate.

Ryne Sandberg — A Hall of Famer, Sandberg is the manager of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Phillies’ Triple-A affiliate. Spending nearly his entire 16-year career with the Cubs, Sandberg posted a .989 career fielding percentage, first all-time among second basemen. He was a perennial All-Star and Gold Glove candidate.

After spending most of his minor league managerial career with the Cubs organization, Sandberg moved to the IronPigs in 2010 when he did not receive the Cubs’ managerial job following Lou Pinella’s retirement. He interviewed with the Red Sox for the job of manager at Triple-A Pawtucket last year, but accepted the Lehigh Valley job before the Sox had made a decision about a managerial post that went to Arnie Beyeler, who had spent the previous years managing in Double-A Portland.

Torey Lovullo — The first base coach of the Blue Jays, Lovullo spent time in the Red Sox organization as manager of Triple-A Pawtucket during the 2010 season. Lovullo has been interviewing for managing jobs since 2006, when the Dodgers considered him for their open manager spot. He was also a candidate for the Pirates’ job in 2007, but it went to John Russell.

Bobby Valentine — Perhaps the most high-profile candidate, Valentine is a baseball analyst for ESPN. Valentine, of course, would bring plenty of managerial experience. He managed the Rangers from 1985-92, then took over as manager for the Mets from 1996- 2002. Valentine led the Mets to the NLCS in 1999 before taking them to the World Series in 2000, when they lost to the Yankees in the Subway Series. After two subpar seasons, Valentine was fired in 2002. He went on to manage in Japan before landing at ESPN in 2009.

Tim Bogar — The third base coach for the Red Sox, Bogar should be able to make the transition to manager smoothly. Bogar has experience as manager in the minors. He was named Best Manager Prospect in the Eastern League in 2006. The Red Sox hired Bogar in 2008 as first base coach, and he moved to third in 2009.

John Gibbons — Gibbons was the manager of the Blue Jays from 2004-08. During his time in Toronto, Gibbons was known for his feuds with players such as Shea Hillenbrand and Frank Thomas. He was fired in the middle of the 2008 season. Gibbons was then hired for his current position as bench coach of the Royals in October of 2008. Gibbons does have a connection with the Boston area, as his mother is from Gloucester.

Read More: Bobby Valentine, Dave Martinez, demarlo hale, John Gibbons
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