It seems hard to remember now, two World Series titles and five postseason berths later, but Terry Francona was a relative unknown when brought aboard a lilting Red sox ship in December 2003.



But perhaps lightning will strike twice on Yawkey Way, and the Sox will go back to the well of the

unknowns to find Francona’s replacement.

Already, the names most often mentioned in connection with the Boston job are hardly household names, at least as far as managing is concerned: Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin, Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr., minor league manager Ryne Sandberg and Giants bench coach Ron Wotus.

The other possible bench coach is already wearing a Sox uniform, and reports indicate Francona lobbied hard in favor of DeMarlo Hale moving into the corner office of the fractured Red Sox clubhouse.

The common theme — bench coach — was the title Francona held with the Athletics when Theo Epstein hired him to replace Grady Little. It was also the title that Joe Maddon, one of Francona’s top runners-up, held with Anaheim.

 

Of course, all if this could be rendered moot if Epstein decides he really likes that Starbucks in Chicago and takes the Cubs presidency. Reports of the Theo sighting this past weekend in the Windy City have not been confirmed, but the Herald reported last night that he was close to joining the NL club.

WEEI cited a source yesterday as saying the Sox will not bring in candidates for the managerial job until Epstein’s situation is resolved.

If Theo goes, it will bring the ownership group of Henry, Werner and Lucchino full circle from the days in early 2002, when they sacked Dan Duquette and Joe Kerrigan.

Report:?Epstein on his way out

General manager Theo Epstein is on the brink of leaving the Red Sox for the Chicago Cubs, the Herald reported last night.

Citing “two baseball sources,” the paper said Epstein is likely to make an announcement in the next day or two that he’s splitting with the Sox for a job in Chicago that includes “powers greater than he has in Boston.”

Ben Cherington would be Epstein’s likely successor on Yawkey Way.

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