Right now, all signs point to Boston signing Bobby Valentine as their manager. This would be a monumental mistake.
Valentine is a retread, having spent a total of 15 years managing the Texas Rangers and New York Mets, and not having managed in America in a decade. His career managerial record is barely over .500, and his teams had an average finish of fourth place, never won their division and only made the playoffs twice. In 1999, his Mets lost to the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS and, in 2000, those same Metropolitans lost the World Series to the crosstown rival Yankees.
Sure, he had a (briefly) successful stint across the Pacific, winning the Japan Series with the Chiba Lotte Marines in 2005. But the Marines never approached those heights again during his tenure, finishing under .500 twice in four years and eventually Valentine was fired after the 2009 season.
Simply put, Valentine isn't the right guy for the job of Sox manager because he's never been consistently successful. His record is well documented and the Sox have no reason to be his next stop at mediocrity.
This leaves the Sox with an interesting question: Who's next in line?
There are many coaches out there clamoring for a shot at a managerial job, but the real answer is right under GM Ben Cherington's nose—longtime catcher and captain Jason Varitek.
'Tek has been with the Sox for 15 years, anchoring the team behind the plate for the bulk of that period. Due to his advancing age and declining production, he has played second fiddle at catcher since the Sox acquired Victor Martinez from the Cleveland Indians at the 2009 trade deadline, first to Martinez and then to Jarrod Saltalamacchia in 2011.
Truth be told, he's of little use to the team as a player beside letting Salty take a break every so often. But, as a manager, he would be of great utility.
Varitek is renowned for his leadership and his ability to handle a pitching staff.
After the Sox' 2004 World Series championship, the team designated him as its first captain since Jim Rice from 1985 through 1989, and he has held that title ever since. He squatted behind the dish in both 2004 and then again in 2007 when the Sox won their second ring in four years, and he has caught a record four no-hitters.
The list of pitchers 'Tek has handled is awe-inspiring: Pedro, Schilling, Beckett and Lester amongst others. By all accounts, his ability to command the attention of his teammates, and especially his pitching staff, was a large part in the Sox' success last decade.
With Salty entrenched as the starter, Varitek could still use himself as the backup catcher. Or, if he's not inclined to be the first player/manager in nearly 30 years, the Sox have catching prospect Ryan Lavarnway waiting in the wings in Pawtucket.
Varitek's mastery of the game and ability to lead this team are unquestioned, and therefore he may be just what they need coming out of a terribly disappointing 2011 and a bumpy offseason—someone from within to remind the team that they belong competing amongst the best of the best and to lead them back to the pinnacle of their sport.