Boston’s search for a new field manager continues and it will do so without the option of Mike Maddux, who withdrew his name from consideration. There are still some intriguing options out there, but managerial changes always make me wonder, “How much does a manager matter?”

Jim Tracy has been the target of much criticism in Colorado, yet in 2009 he took over for the fired Clint Hurdle and brought the Rockies from despair to the postseason. The turnaround earned him the 2009 Manager of the Year award and a three-year extension. Two years in and now people are calling for his head.

The book “Moneyball” talks about the role that manager Art Howe played in the team’s overall success in the early 2000s, which, as it was written, was not much of a role at all. Those teams were basically run by the front office and Howe was brought in more as an authority figure to the players more than anything else (e.g. he was instructed to stand on the top step so that he would be above the players in the dugout).

Of course, this past season, Boston media wrote about how Terry Francona had no control over the clubhouse and that that somehow led to, or at least aided in, the September collapse.

What’s the pulse of Red Sox Nation? How much does a manager matter in today’s game?

Head on over to the right sidebar to cast your vote>>>>>>>>


Last week we asked you to vote for the top-end free agent that is the best fit for this team. Pitching took the top two spots, but one name ran away with the majority of the votes.

  • Mark Buehrle (34%, 120 Votes) – After the way quality innings were almost impossible to come by late last season, this innings eater makes a ton of sense in Boston.
  • Yu Darvish (15%, 53 Votes) – Well, there is certainly a lot of hype surrounding this potential Japanese import. Those scared that Darvish is going to be the next Dice-K shouldn’t worry. Darvish is a completely different pitcher. Still, there’s no clear-cut way to figure out how his numbers will translate to the big leagues.
  • Carlos Beltran (13%, 47 Votes) – I wouldn’t mind seeing Beltran in right on a one-year deal, but he’s going to get longer offers than that for sure. He’s not young anymore and injuries are certainly a concern.
  • C.J. Wilson (13%, 46 Votes) – I’ve never been a C.J. Wilson believer, but his numbers from 2011 were darn impressive.
  • Edwin Jackson (8%, 28 Votes) – Jackson has had an interesting career and while he has had some brilliant streaks over the last few years, he’s been far from consistent.
  • Aramis Ramirez (7%, 23 Votes) – He would be a downgrade from Youkilis’s defense at third. My guess is that some team will break down and give him a three-year deal, which, given his age, would be a mistake.
  • Ryan Madson (6%, 20 Votes) – He’s been one of the best relief pitchers in baseball over the last few years. However, it seems like the more pressing matter of figuring out the 2012 rotation takes top priority (and I would agree).
  • Hiroki Kuroda (4%, 15 Votes) – I thought there would be more votes for this starting arm. Kuroda isn’t getting any younger, but his skill set has not changed over the past two years. He’s a ground-ball pitcher that generated above average numbers in both whiff and chase rates.