As Francona departs, who is next?

Here at Fenway Park for the stakeout.

John Henry and Terry Francona are inside. DeMarlo Hale is here, too.

It’s probably just a matter of how they word the press release at this point.

When Theo Epstein last hired a manager, he went with a 44-year-old bench coach with managerial experience.

That could bode well for somebody like Trey Hillman of the Dodgers. Or Tony Pena of the Yankees. Yankees third base coach Rob Thompson is highly regarded for his intelligence. Dave Martinez (Rays) and Pete Mackanin (Phillies) fit that mold, too.

Joe Torre is not likely to leave a cushy job with MLB. Lou Piniella? Bobby Valentine? They might be interested, but would they subject themselves to being dictated to from the front office?

But one way or another, the Red Sox will have a new manager. That process is underway.

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