After months of waiting to see what would happen with Boston and Alex Cora, the MLB has finally come to a decision. The Red Sox lost a second round pick, a team video operator was suspended, and Cora would be suspended for the entire 2020 season. However, a key factor of the suspension is that the MLB made it crystal clear that he was only being punished for his time in Houston. While a suspension is obviously never a good thing, the terms of the punishment have now opened the door for Cora to return to the Red Sox in 2021.
Ron Roenicke is extremely close to Cora, and served as the bench coach the past two seasons. He was named interim manager of the Red Sox following the initial story of the scandal, and has since been named manager after the ruling came out. Although he no longer has the interim tag, it is more likely than ever that Cora makes a return to Boston in 2021. First of all, ownership absolutely loves him. When Dave Dombrowski fired John Farrell a couple years back, there was almost no question that Cora would be brought in. He was a guy extremely familiar with the city and its culture, and proved that in his two years here. Upon being hired, he was very clear on what he wanted to do with the team, and ultimately executed his plan with a World Series victory.
Aside from the success of the team, it is important to dive deeper and take a closer look inside the clubhouse. Under Cora, Mookie Betts won an MVP award, J.D. Martinez had the best year of his career, and both Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers have come into their own to a crazy extent. While the team has obviously lost Betts, Devers and Bogaerts can be the heart of the team for the foreseeable future. With that said, I truly believe Cora’s impact on them is what puts them above and beyond.
There is no denying that Cora cheated with the Astros. It is pretty well documented that he was the ring leader of the operation, and obviously had to pay for what he did there. Sign stealing certainly is a part of the game, but it really depends on how you go about it. If you have a player on second base who can decipher what the catcher is asking for, that is called gamesmanship. However, once you start talking about cameras and other forms of technology to pick up pitches on the spot, you have 100% crossed a line.
While Cora did the wrong thing, let’s not forget that he is one of the youngest managers in the league and has an edge to him. He is an aggressive guy who wants to win at all costs. Most importantly, he always has the respect of his players. They trust him. Of course this entire situation will cause his reputation to really plummet, I believe that most of the guys in the Red Sox clubhouse will not change their opinions about him. If anything, they would use this as something to rally around and play for throughout the year. It would give them some extra motivation to win for their manager. The 2021 season is still far away, but do not be shocked to see Alex Cora back in town.