Remember when Dave Dombrowski interrupted John Farrell’s end of the season press conference making the big announcement that Farrell would be back in 2017 and as for the rest of the coaching staff there would be no changes.
The Red Sox are now letting Torey Lovullo walk. Lovullo’s interest in leaving comes to no surprise as the organization first thought he was going to leave the team after the 2014 season. Especially, as he is following former Red Sox GM Mike Hazan who also left the Red Sox for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Now the Red Sox coaching staff has a huge hole, one that the organization maybe should have made more of an effort to avoid coming into place.
Lovullo was credited for leading the Red Sox to a strong finish to the 2015 season when Farrell was on leave, battling cancer. The team went 28-20 under Lovullo as interim manager. He was given an extension to his contract to ensure he would not interview for a managerial position for another year. His capabilities of coaching and connecting with players were well known, something that is an underrated part of being a bench coach. His importance was established and now there is a big role to fill. So…what now?
John Farrell and the Red Sox could look to promote within the staff. Hitting coach, Chili Davis and third base coach, Brian Butterfield could both be considered for the role. But, it seems that Butterfield who has been part of Farrell’s coaching staff for the past 6 years with Boston and Toronto and has experience as a bench coach through 2008-2009 with the Blue Jays, would be the frontrunner.
Although bench coaches are much different from all other coaches on the staff. Like I said earlier, Lovullo’s ability to connect with the players is something that is hugely valued as a bench coach. They act as an in-game advisor to the manager as well as being someone the players can connect with, in ways they may not be able to with a manager. What you want out of a bench coach is someone who knows the game inside and out and players have a strong connection with. Names that come to my mind, besides Butterfield and Davis, are former players like Jason Varitek and Alex Cora. I know these might be long-shot hopes and unrealistic, but they are just examples of the type of minds you would like to be serving as Farell’s voice of reason.
Regardless, now the team is in search of an addition to the coaching staff in some shape or form. A search that is an important one for a coaching staff that has been under much scrutiny from fans all season long. Hopefully, the Red Sox and Farrell don’t take this pursuit lightly, because who knows what next year’s team could do with anticipated offseason acquisitions and a strong coaching staff.