At the conclusion of MLB's regular season, the Boston Red Sox announced that manager Ron Roenicke would not return for the 2021 season. Chaim Bloom, Boston's top executive, has been in town for less than a year, yet the next skipper he employs will already be the third to work under him with the Red Sox. Bloom inherited Alex Cora, who was fired after his part in the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal was publicized, and then chose to install Roenicke as a one-year stopgap.
Now, after a season of contemplation, Bloom can pick his own manager. Whom might he choose? It's anyone's guess at this point, which means we can feel free to speculate wildly. Below, we've identified 10 individuals who we think could surface as candidates for the job. We are not, for the most part, operating off inside information here; rather, our instrument of choice is logic, and our desire to entertain while spotlighting some names to know.
With that in mind, let's get to the good stuff. (Do note that the list is presented alphabetically.)
1. Tim Bogar, bench coach, Nationals
Bogar has a few points working in his favor. He has a relationship with Bloom from their shared time in Tampa Bay; he has connections to Boston, having coached under both Terry Francona and Bobby Valentine; and he has some managerial experience, as he served as the Texas Rangers' interim skipper during the 2014 season. Bogar has been a bench coach with multiple organizations, and at some point he deserves the chance to run a team on a permanent basis.
2. Alex Cora, suspended
The Red Sox haven't explicitly ruled out bringing back Cora, who guided them to 192 regular-season victories and a World Series win in his two years at the helm. We think a reconciliation is unlikely for numerous reasons, though, beginning with the optics. Both of Cora's most recent employers, the Astros and Red Sox, have been investigated for technological misconduct. Maybe that's a coincidence, and maybe his role in the Houston scheme has been overstated. But why invite the scrutiny that will come with employing him?
3. Kai Correa, bench coach, Giants
Hiring Correa might qualify as a bolder move than welcoming back Cora. Correa, who is in his early 30s, has made a quick ascent from coaching at the University of Northern Colorado to being a defensive-minded coach in the Cleveland system to being Gabe Kapler's bench coach. He never played professionally, and he's spent just one season as a coach in the majors, but he's doing something right to move up the ranks as rapidly as he has over the last five-plus years.
4. Joe Espada, bench coach, Astros
Espada has been a manager-in-waiting for years now. He's served in a high-ranking capacity under Joe Girardi in New York and now both A.J. Hinch and Dusty Baker in Houston. Along the way, Espada has interviewed for a number of open managerial posts. It seems like a matter of time before he gets one of those jobs. Maybe Boston will prove to be the one.
5. Sam Fuld, information coordinator, Phillies
As with Espada, Fuld has become a staple on these lists. He's a former big-league outfielder who has spent the last several years serving as an information conduit between the Phillies players and the front office. He's well-regarded around the league, and has already received multiple interviews for managerial gigs. Fuld should know Bloom from their shared time with the Rays. That preexisting relationship might not help, but it sure can't hurt.
6. Mark Kotsay, quality control coach, Athletics
Kotsay never played for a Bloom-led team, but he did spend some time with the Red Sox late in his career. Since hanging up his spikes, he's served as a big-league coach with both the Padres and Athletics organizations, including in his current role as a quality control coach. Kotsay has interviewed with multiple organizations, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him land a managerial gig, either sometime this winter or in one of the winters to come.
7. Eduardo Perez, analyst, ESPN
Perez, who nearly landed the Mets gig last offseason, seems like the individual most likely to follow Aaron Boone's path from the broadcast booth to the dugout. In addition to being universally well-liked, Perez has worked as a bench coach and a hitting coach in the majors, and has served as a manager in both the World Baseball Classic and various winter leagues.
8. Matt Quatraro, bench coach, Rays
We feel obligated to include Quatraro, who has served as Kevin Cash's bench coach for the last two seasons. That means he has ample experience working alongside Bloom and implementing all the progressive strategies one can shake several sticks at. These kinds of obvious connections seldom result in a hire -- unless, say, you're Gabe Kapler and Farhan Zaidi -- but that's neither our problem nor the topic at hand.
9. Luis Urueta, bench coach, Diamondbacks
Urueta has been with the Diamondbacks organization for a long time, but the 2020 season was his first as Torey Lovullo's bench coach. He actually interviewed with the Red Sox after they dismissed Cora. That doesn't mean Urueta will get another look this winter, but he fits the modern mold and he should receive more interview opportunities over the coming months.
10. Jason Varitek, special assistant, Red Sox
Should Bloom and crew want to stay in-house and rack up some easy fan-service points, then they could install Varitek as their new skipper. Varitek, of course, spent parts of 15 big-league seasons catching for the Red Sox. He always received high marks for his feel for the game, though it's unclear if he has interest in taking over a team at this point in his life.