Bobby Valentine could be back in a dugout very soon.
Valentine interviewed to become manager of the Red Sox on Monday and word out of Boston is that he is the frontrunner to take over for Terry Francona. It's a bit ironic that a man forced out of Queens because the 2002 Mets quit on him would replace a man forced out of Boston by a collapse, but baseball didn't become our most lyrical sport by accident.
There are two ways that the Valentine interest is being spun, one of which is much better for the Yankees than the other.
The first is that Valentine is the choice of ownership, particularly team president Larry Lucchino, and that G.M. Ben Cherington is a bystander to the process of hiring him. If true, that would make the next few years ripe for more of the same kind of meltdown fun that we got at the end of this season.
Option number two is that the Sox really are on board with changing the culture around the team, rather than just paying lip service to it, and Valentine would make a perfect choice to create that change. While he's perfectly comfortable with a statistically oriented approach to team building, he's the polar opposite from Terry Francona in personality and would shift the team from a cerebral approach to one that's as fiery as you can get.
That option should be a worrisome one for the Yankees. Valentine's greatest success while he was with the Mets was the way he maximized the contributions of marginal players like Benny Agbayani, Rick Reed and Turk Wendell.
Imagine, then, what he might be able to do with a talented roster that simply needs a different voice to get their engines running full steam? After watching him tweak Joe Torre endlessly, the mind also reels at what antics Valentine will use to antagonize Joe Girardi.
With Valentine, the Red Sox would be buying a manager with an expiration date and the end will almost certainly come with a bang, but there's a pretty good chance he'll provide reasons to celebrate along the way. And, given the Mets years, there will also be plenty of fun moments along the way as well as some frustration with a man who can be as self-aggrandizing as he is entertaining.
Guessing just how much impact Valentine's arrival will have on the balance of power in the division is hard to do, especially because it's not like he's taking over a team that's been living in filth. The Sox are going to be a good team no matter who manages them next season, the question is whether they'll be good enough to avoid another third-place finish.
What's certain is that the AL East would be a more interesting place with Valentine back in the picture, which is about all you need to know to root for the Red Sox to make him their next manager.