Boston Red Sox

Sep 9, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Former Boston Red Sox player David Ortiz (right) is greeted by former catcher Jason Varitek (left) after throwing out the first pitch before the game against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park. (Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports)

98.5 The Sports Hub staff report

It didn’t take long for Las Vegas to establish their favorite for the now-vacant Red Sox managerial gig, as Jason Varitek has been given 3-1 odds to replace Alex Cora as Boston’s new skipper, according to BetOnline.

Varitek, who spent his entire 15-year MLB career with the Red Sox, has been working with the team since 2012, and was most recently named a special assistant to Chaim Bloom, the team’s new chief baseball officer. And though Varitek has no managing experience to his name, it’s worth noting that Varitek has work closely with the organization’s pitchers and catchers in recent years, and that Cora did not have any managerial experience when Boston hired him.

Behind Varitek, Hensley Meulens is listed with the second-best odds, at 7-2. The 52-year-old Meulens, who won three World Series titles as the Giants’ hitting coach from 2010 through 2019, was most recently named the bench coach on Carlos Beltran’s staff with the New York Mets, and has been interviewed for managerial openings in the past.

And at 5-1, former big leaguer and current Athletics quality control coach Mark Kotsay has the third-best odds of getting the job. Kotsay was at one point considered a favorite for the Giants’ opening, but lost out on that gig to ex-Sox outfielder (and Phillies manager) Gabe Kapler.

BetOnline’s odds also feature some veteran managers such as Dusty Baker (9-1) and Bruce Bochy (25-1), and has David Ortiz listed as a longshot, with 50-1 odds that it’s Big Papi who steps into Cora’s shoes as the team’s new manager.

And though the team won’t put a definitive timeline on their hiring process, Bloom did note that the Red Sox are not operating from the greatest position right now, and that the team would like to get a new manager “as soon as possible.”

“It’s an unusual time to be doing a managerial search,” Bloom, who joined John Henry, Tom Werner, and Sam Kennedy at the podium for Wednesday’s press conference at Fenway Park, admitted “Being this close to spring training, it’s impossible for [the timing] not to be a factor in how we proceed.”

The Red Sox, who haven’t made any sort of free agent or trade splash this offseason, are coming off an 84-win 2019 campaign, which slotted them behind the Yankees and Rays for third place in the American League East.