BOSTON -- Now what?
There will need to be life in Red Sox Nation without Terry Francona, but the task of replacing the manager who helped end an 86-year World Series drought will surely be a painstaking process for general manager Theo Epstein.
"As far as the process and timetable, we haven't even begun to tackle that," Epstein said. "This just came down today and obviously we'll do a thorough job and we want to get the right guy. That's more important than doing it quickly."
Epstein said he'll be looking for qualities in the new manager similar to those Francona showed during his tenure in Boston.
"This is a tough job. I think I'll use the same process that we did eight years ago when we identified and hired Tito," Epstein said. "Looking back at that process eight years ago, we found the right guy and we hired the right guy and he did a remarkable job. This organization is forever changed because of the job that he did here."
Epstein said he's contacted the entire coaching staff and told each of them the club's plans moving forward.
"It's always the case when you hire a new manager that not every member of the coaching staff's job is secure," Epstein said. "You always want to make sure the new manager has the ability to bring in some of his own guys. I told the coaches how much I appreciate their efforts and they're going to get my strong recommendation in many cases to the new manager, but we can't have final resolution on the coaching staff until we have a new manager in place."
Before Francona walked out of Fenway Park on Friday night, he endorsed current bench coach DeMarlo Hale as his replacement.
"I hope he gets serious consideration, if not here then somewhere else," Francona said. "I think he is a tremendous manager-in-waiting. He's a tremendous friend. He'll manage somewhere and he'll be very good."
Here are some of the possible candidates:
-- 5th in all-time wins (2326)
-- 2nd in all-time playoff appearances (15)
-- 4 World Series wins
-- Current executive vice president of baseball operations for MLB
-- Last managed the New York Mets in 2002
-- In 7 years with the Mets, average finish was 3rd place, including one World Series appearance.
-- Never finished in 1st place.
-- .534 winning pct with Mets.
-- Current baseball analyst for ESPN
Tony La Russa
-- Managed 16 seasons for the Cardinals (longest current tenure in MLB)
-- Most games managed in Cards history (2591), most wins (1408)
-- 4-time manager of the year
-- 3rd all-time postseason wins (59)
-- 3rd all-time wins (2728)
-- Two World Series wins
-- Manager at Triple-A Charlotte (White Sox) in 2011, went 69-74
-- Manager at Class-A Winston-Salem (White Sox) in 2009-10, went 154-123 and finished 1st both years
-- Hitting coach at Triple-A Charlotte (White Sox) in 2008
-- Played 9 major league seasons, hit .251 with 25 HRs and 158 RBIs in 754 games
-- Named top managerial prospect in South Atlantic League by Baseball America in 2009.
-- Signed a minor league deal with Red Sox in 2007 before retiring the next January.
-- Phillies bench coach 2009-11
-- Reds interim manager in 2007; at time of his hiring, team had worst record in NL, had 2nd-best record in NL during his tenure (41-39) including 5 series sweeps
-- Pirates interim manager in 2005 (12-14)
-- Pirates bench coach 2003-05
-- Expos third-base coach 1997-2000
-- Managed 13 minor league seasons from 1985 to 2001, his teams finished 1st or 2nd on eight occasions
-- Went 917-849 and won league championships in 1995 (Ottawa, International League) and 2002 (Lynchburg, Carolina League)
-- Red Sox bench coach 2010-11
-- Red Sox third-base coach 2006-09
-- Rangers first-base coach 2002-05
-- Managed Texas' Triple-A Oklahoma club to 2nd-place finishes in its division in 2000 and 2001
-- Went 491-471 in seven seasons as minor league manager in the Red Sox system from 1993-99, reaching postseason 3 times
-- His 1999 Double-A Trenton team was named minor league team of the year by Baseball America
-- Batted .267 with 26 HRs, 206 RBIs and 67 steals in 482 minor league games
-- Blue Jays first-base coach 2011
-- 9 years as manager in minor leagues (2002-10), going 661-609 with six different teams
-- Finished 1st in first four seasons as minor league manager, won league title in 2004 and 2005
-- Played 303 major league games with the Tigers, Yankees, Angels, Mariners, Athletics, Indians and Phillies, hit .224 (165-737)
-- Mariners manager in 2011 (67-95)
-- Indians manager 2003-09 (561-573), won AL Central in 2006 for only postseason appearance (lost to Red Sox in 7 games in ALCS)
-- Manager at Triple-A Buffalo 2001-02 (178-108), made playoffs both years, including finals in 2002
-- Manager at Double-A Akron 2000 (75-68)
-- Manager at Single-A Kinston 1999 (79-58), made Carolina League playoffs
-- Manager at Single-A Columbus (59-81)
-- Played 39 games in the major leagues with the Red Sox and Rockies, hit .233 (20-86) with 5 HRs
-- Diamondbacks bench coach in 2011
-- Cubs bench coach 2007-10
-- 35th manager in Tigers history, went 186-300 from 2003-05
-- Padres first-base coach 2000-02
-- Tigers hitting coach 1999
-- Tigers SS for 20 seasons, hitting .285 with 2,365 hits, 185 HR and 1,003 RBIs
-- Second in MVP voting in 1987
-- MVP of 1984 World Series which Tigers won in 5 games; hit .450 (9-20), 2 HR, 6 RBIs
-- White Sox bench coach 2007-11
-- White Sox third-base coach 2004-06
-- Manager of Class A Savannah (Montreal Expos) in 2003, going 58-80
-- Manager of Kingsport (New York Mets Advanced Rookie League) of the Appalachian League in 2001-02, going 54-79
-- Played 11 major league seasons with the Padres, White Sox, Mariners and Indians, hit .277 with 30 HRs, 294 RBIs, 624 runs in 1,119 games
Joe McDonald and Gordon Edes cover the Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com. John Fisher of ESPN Stats & Info helped with this report.