The American League Championship Series begins on Saturday, and it will be as notable for the teams that are not participating in it as those that are.



According to a major league source, the Red Sox made the second change to their big league coaching staff since the departure of former manager Terry Francona, informing coaching staff assistant Rob Leary on Friday that he won't be asked to return for the 2012 season. Leary joined first base coach Ron Johnson as the first two members of the Sox coaching staff to depart in Francona's wake.

Red Sox principal owner John Henry, in his appearance with team CEO Larry Lucchino on the Dennis & Callahan Show, acknowledged that the team was unlikely to pick up the two-year option on former manager Terry Francona's three-year contract. However, Henry also suggested that the team did not have the chance to make Francona's departure truly "mutual," intimating that two-time World Series winner took the decision out of the club's hands.

Red Sox owner John Henry and CEO Larry Lucchino, in a Friday morning appearance on the Dennis & Callahan Show, declined to comment directly on the Cubs' request to talk about a job in their organization with current Red Sox GM Theo Epstein.

According to a source with knowledge of the situation, former Red Sox manager Terry Francona did not have talks with the White Sox about their vacant managerial position prior to Chicago hiring Robin Ventura Thursday.

ESPN analyst and former Rangers and Mets manager Bobby Valentine, in an interview on the Mut & Merloni Show, said that he had not been contacted by the Red Sox to this point about the managerial vacancy that was created when Terry Francona and the team parted ways last Friday.

Valentine, 61, had a 1,117-1072 (.510) record in 15 years as a manager, and reached the World Series with the Mets in 2000. He also enjoyed a successful career managing in Japan, where he not only led the Chiba Lotte Marines to a championship, but he also became an iconic figure in the NPB.

Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci joined the Dennis & Callahan show on Thursday morning to talk about where the Red Sox went wrong this season and how they will address this offseason.

Verducci said that despite the extensive scouting the Red Sox did on Carl Crawford prior to acquiring him, he does not seem to be a good fit for Fenway Park and the Boston environment.

The scenario is strikingly familiar: A new owner of a storied but star-crossed franchise seeks an established general manager to serve as the architect who will end an incredible championship drought.



According to ESPN.com, Red Sox first base coach Ron Johnson has been dismissed. Johnson, 55, spent the last two years as the Sox' first base coach after spending the previous 10 years as a manager in the Sox' farm system, including a stretch from 2005-09 as the manager in Triple-A Pawtucket.

In his interview on The Big Show, former Red Sox manager Terry Francona revealed that he received a phone call from Manny Ramirez after the decision was made on Friday that he would not be returning to the Boston dugout following the disappointing end to the 2011 season.

"Actually, Manny called me. How ‘bout that?" Francona said. "I was very surprised. It was actually a very nice message and I appreciated it a lot."