The manager who led the Red Sox to their first two World Series championships since 1918 has agreed to part ways with the team after eight terrific seasons in Boston.
That being said, it was the right move for the Red Sox front office to make, not only because of Francona's struggles this season with keeping the team under control and well-conditioned, but also to illustrate the fact that there is a short leash for poor performance in baseball to both the players and to Theo Epstein.
This offseason will be one of the most important in recent history for the Red Sox. Not only will they have to find starting pitching and a right fielder, find a way to dump John Lackey's horrendous salary off on another team and find a peaceful way to part ways with currently useless veterans Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield, but they have to find the new face of the franchise.
The manager's role in baseball is overrated in terms of strategic input but is incredibly underrated in impact to the team due to the fact that the manager sets the tone of the locker room, and much of baseball revolves around player management and camaraderie. This article will explain who I believe are the five best, realistic, candidates to be the new manager of the 2012 Boston Red Sox.