Should the Red Sox Bring Back Terry Francona?

Stephen SikoraContributor IAugust 24, 2012

PITTSBURGH - JUNE 24:  Manager Terry Francona #47 of the Boston Red Sox watches batting practice before the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 24, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

After last night’s debacle against the Los Angeles Angels, it is now official: The Red Sox are out of the playoff chase.

Their 14-13 loss represented this particular Red Sox season; a frustrating experience that should have turned out differently. The Sox blew leads of 6-0, 9-8 and 11-9 en route to an extra inning loss.

Boston’s focus should now shift to the 2013 season and some of it already has with Carl Crawford having undergone elbow surgery this week. But perhaps the biggest question heading into next season is who will manage the team?

Bobby Valentine has been dealt with a myriad of injuries and below average performances from numerous players this season. In all likelihood, no manager would have been able to bring this club to the postseason.

Management, however, isn’t solely about team success. Other responsibilities such as cultivating player relationships, communicating between coaches and speaking with the media—Valentine has failed miserably at. Handling those poorly certainly didn’t help the teams’ on field performance this season.

If Valentine’s gone, which many think he will be, who will be the next leader of the Red Sox?

On Monday’s B.S. Report with Bill Simmons, the Grantland editor-in-chief asked his buddy Jacko what the odds were that Terry Francona would come back to manage the Red Sox. At first Jacko said 50/50, but after giving it some additional thought, he eventually settled on 30%.

Simmons said the odds are more like 5:1, primarily because the Sports Guy doesn’t think Francona would come back. If you’re him, Simmons said, you could go to a new city with no baggage and be much happier there.

That’s why Francona doesn’t make sense for the Red Sox.

Not only is there baggage for him to come back—it’s also there for the team. If the Sox came out of the gate struggling next year with Francona at the helm, it wouldn’t be much different than what Valentine faced this year or what Francona dealt with last September.

So what’s a solution for the leadership of the Red Sox? Simmons had an idea that I predict many Sox fans will support.

He would first fire Bobby V and replace him with Jason Varitek. Then he’d bring back Dave Roberts as the first base coach, Kevin Millar as third base coach and Pedro Martinez as pitching coach.

Could hiring these postseason heroes really work?

Catchers are some of the smartest MLB players because of the knowledge and strategy they need to succeed everyday. Some of the top managers in today’s game were former catchers, including Joe Girardi, Mike Scoisia, Joe Madden and Jim Leyland.

Varitek was a leader in the clubhouse when he played and could continue that as manager. The current Sox players need someone who can communicate with them, but also be a leader—the former captain and two-time World Series champ commands the necessary respect.

We’ve seen former players with no managerial experience such as Robin Ventura and Mike Matheney succeed this year in their first season as managers. There’s no reason to think Tek wouldn’t be able to do the same.

As for the other coaching positions, they would bring back some legitimacy to the organization.

This media vendetta against the Sox that began last September? It’d be gone.

Pedro and Millar would not only be able to deal with the media, they wouldn’t put the team in those positions in the first place. Plus, local writers would have a hard time calling out Boston legends like Pedro and Dave Roberts.

Regardless of whether Bobby V stays or not, the status quo needs to be disrupted before next season. Because if it’s not, fans can look forward to the team playing even more meaningless games in September.