The Red Sox, only a year removed from hoisting the World Series trophy, has fallen further into turmoil after releasing manager Alex Cora. This offseason they have made solid moves to get back on track, and the next step towards getting back to the postseason is figuring out who the new manager will be.
The first option available to the Sox is Eduardo Perez. What he lacks in experience with the Red Sox schemes, he makes up for with a tremendous baseball mind. Shortly after ending his 13-year baseball career in 2006, he immediately jumped into the field of baseball analysis. This analytical approach from Perez is what new GM Chaim Bloom is searching for in the next manager.
As Perez continued his career as an analyst, he also became the manager of Leones de Ponce in Puerto Rico in 2008. That same year he was named Manager of the Year while leading the team to the league title. In 2011, he set aside his analytical career and became the hitting coach of the Miami Marlins. Unfortunately, two years later Perez, among virtually all of the staff, was let go after an underwhelming 2012 season.
But Perez rebounded quickly, joining the Houston Astros as the new bench coach for the 2013 season. He switched to first base coach for the following season, but resigned to spend more time with his family. But in 2014, he realized he couldn’t stay away from the game and returned to ESPN as an analyst once again. Perez also returned to manage in Puerto Rico, this time leading the Santurce Crabbers to a league championship win.
Since then, Perez remains as an analyst, continuing to show his baseball IQ for ESPN. He would not be the first manager to come from ESPN, as even Alex Cora was in a similar role prior to becoming the Astros bench coach in 2016. Eduardo’s experience and success, paired with his likeability, could make a great manager for the Sox.
While we don’t even know if it’s possible for Bloom to steal Quatraro from the Rays, it would certainly be a good pickup. Like Perez, he continued with baseball from the moment he retired. Matt was a hitting coach, catching instructor, and manager in Tampa’s minor from 2004 to 2009. In that exact timeframe, he also was an assistant coach for the Albany Great Danes baseball team.
In 2010, Quatraro was promoted to the position of minor league hitting coordinator, overseeing the entire farm system. He left Tampa in 2014, moving to the Cleveland Indians for the position of assistant hitting coach. In his time with the Indians, their team’s hitting never dipped below the league average and their offense was even being in the top five in his final two years with the club.
Matt returned to the Rays as the third base coach following the 2017 season, and just one year later he was elevated to the role of bench coach. Last year, he was a noticeable piece in the Rays 96 win squad, which also broke their five-year playoff drought. Quatraro was a finalist for the Pirates’ manager job and also interviewed with the Giants. He is very experienced at most ends of the game, with the same appealing analytical piece that Chaim Bloom enjoys. While it may be difficult to acquire him, Quatraro would be great to replace Cora.
The last external candidate we will mention that makes any sense, Kotsay presents the added bonus of having spent time playing in Boston. So he knows the system better than the other two previously mentioned candidates and also has been in positions of importance for longer. He joined the Padres in 2014 as a special assistant, and later in the year became the hitting coach. So it took around 10 years for Quatraro to work his way up to the assistant hitting coach, while it took Kotsay less than a year to become the head hitting coach.
Then just one year later, Kotsay became the Padre’s bench coach replacing Phil Plantier. After another disappointing year for the A’s, Mark was once again promoted, this time to the role of quality control manager. He still remains in that capacity, and since taking up that role, the A’s have made the playoffs twice in a row after last making it in 2014.
Kotsay was a finalist for the Giants’ managerial job, as well as the Pirates. He has a great work ethic, and enough of an IQ to succeed in any role given to him. This may be the most optimal choice for the Red Sox, as he more than checks all of the boxes.
While all of the candidates would be solid choices, the quality dramatically increases over these next two internal choices. The first one here being the fan-favorite for the role, Jason Varitek. He has been a special assistant with Boston since his retirement in 2012, reportedly assisting in personnel decisions, evaluations, and mentorship.
Boston’s former captain and two-time World Series champion has been labeled as a future manager for years now. Varitek is said to be one of the most important game planners for the Red Sox, shooting down any ideas that he is only impactful behind the desk. He shows obvious talent in the fields of game management and leadership, two clear qualities needed to manage a team. His experience is a bit lacking, but his knowledge of the organization and clear proof of skill is enough for him to be one of the frontrunners for the job. And if he doesn’t get it the managerial job, maybe Varitek could come in as the bench coach if the final candidate here gets the job
The most likely choice, Roenicke would have the most seamless transition into the role. He has the most experience on this list, having been a coach since the early 1990s. From 1992 to 2000 he spent his time as a minor league manager in the Dodgers and Giants systems. He became the Angels third base coach and held that role for six years before finally getting the role of bench coach.
Roenicke helped the team reach three of their nine total postseason berths in the history of the franchise, and they have only reached the playoffs one more time since. In 2010, he became the Brewers manager and would retain that post until 2015 when he was fired. The Brewer’s relationship with Ron was inconsistent, due to many key players struggling at crucial times.
Roenicke once again returned to being a third base coach, for both the Dodgers and the Angels, and then found himself with the Red Sox in 2017 as their bench coach. He has been pretty impressive so far with the Sox, and was well trusted by Cora. He has the most experience with the organization, not including Varitek, as well as the most overall experience leading teams. Ron would present an easy transition without shaking the boat any further than it already has been, and is probably our best shot at improving from last season’s disappointments.