ESPN baseball insider Buster Olney checked in with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday, as speculation continues that Bobby Valentine will be fired by the team, and fired quickly, following Wednesday night's season finale in New York.
"I think so. Because they want to move on. And Ben [Cherington] made reference to that recently and talked about he wanted the process to go quickly," Olney said. "And as soon as they fire Bobby, then they can formally reach out to the Blue Jays and find out if John Farrell is in fact going to be someone that they'll be able to obtain or if the Blue Jays are going to reject their request to speak with him, and then they can move on.
"You understand why, after what they went through last year, why they're not going to want this to drag this out and they're going to want to move ahead with plans and get their coaching staff and everything in place."
Sox coach Tim Bogar's name has been mentioned as a possible candidate, but Olney doesn't see that as likely.
"I think he could be on the staff, but I don't know if he necessarily would be someone that they would look at as being a manager," Olney said. "Let's face it, if you are in their situation, you're going to want the perfect fit. You're going to not want to have someone about whom there are going to be a lot of questions. The simple fact is that Tim hasn't managed at the major league level. And that's probably going to be something that's going to work against him in this search.
"I think John Farrell has a huge advantage for all the reasons I'm sure you guys have talked about. They know him, the players know him. And one thing that's become pretty clear in conversation, that whoever the next manager is, he's going to be so welcomed with open arms by the players that it will be a real positive step going forward. And if it's John Farrell especially, because he's a known quantity to these guys.
"For all those reasons, I wonder if the Blue Jays blanch and say, 'Well, let's see what you'd offer us for Farrell,' I think the Red Sox would step up and make sure that it happens, because this is a really important choice given what's gone on here the last 15 months."
If and when Valentine is let go, Olney said to expect more details to emerge about what went on behind the scenes during the Sox' woeful 2012 season.
"I've never seen a situation where there's so much known about another team's clubhouse in other clubhouses," Olney said. "I was around the White Sox last week, those players were asking me questions about it, they were telling me stories. I was around the Orioles, those guys were telling me stories. The Yankees players yesterday were telling me stories.
"I think there's going to be more stuff coming out. And we saw yesterday in Bobby's press conference, he's not going to hold back. He took what was perceived to be a shot at the medical staff in reference to [Dustin] Pedroia. In the way that he always answers questions, he always leaves himself plausible deniability, but there were eyebrows raised with that. And when he talked about, 'Well, I don't think I was late,' obviously a little jab at the media because of the way he perceived the whole thing in Oakland to have been written about in the media.
"It's Bobby. And whenever this comes down, he's going to have some things to say, I have no doubt about it. Because he's going to want it known how and why he thinks this thing has gone wrong. And the one thing I haven't seen from him is him -- I've seen references to him saying that he feels like he's done a terrible job because they haven't won games, but I haven't seen him specifically mention where it didn't go right and why he thinks there's been such a disconnect with the players. In fact, there was a New York Times story yesterday which said that he disagrees with the perception that the players don't like him, that he feels like the players do like him."
Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona reportedly is a candidate to manage the Indians, but Olney said it doesn't seem like the right fit.
"My guess is that he's not going to go there, because they're going to be in a serious rebuilding effort right now with so many spots left open in the rotation," Olney said. "They don't have that much payroll. I wonder if they're going to be willing to pay him. Because he's in a position where he can make 3, 4 million dollars a year. That's not what they've been paying their managers.
"And I think there's going to be better opportunities that pop up in the future. Maybe it's next year with the Angels if they decide to at some point fire Mike Scioscia. I've even heard speculation that Jim Leyland still may not stay with the Tigers even though they made the playoffs. And Terry would be a great guy to slide in there. There are a lot of other situations that would seem to be better than Cleveland for Terry on the horizon."
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