After winning the World Series and going on an incredible run in 2018, just about everything has gone wrong for the Boston Red Sox. With one of the most talented rosters in the entire MLB, they were out of the playoff hunt for the vast majority of the 2019 season. Rumors started going around that Mookie Betts would not stay long term, and with injuries to Chris Sale and Nathan Eovaldi, it appeared that perhaps Boston had really dug itself into a hole. If one was asked to find one true positive aspect about the team, I believe most would say their coach, Alex Cora. Unfortunately, less than a month before spring training begins, the Red Sox had no other option but to fire him.
In 2017, Cora was the bench coach for the eventual World Series champions, the Houston Astros. He was considered to be one of the best assistants in the league at the time, hence why the Red Sox made such a strong effort to bring him in. A couple months ago, word got out that Houston had been using many different techniques to steal signs, and let the batter know what pitch was coming. About a month after that, while the MLB conducted its investigation, they came to the conclusion that Alex Cora was really the mastermind behind everything. Due to being the head coach, regardless of his actual involvement, A.J. Hinch was not only suspended for a full season, he was also fired by the Astros. While Cora played a big role in the scheme, the league was not able to give him a punishment along with Hinch, however, because word got out that he brought this entire operation to Boston in 2018. An investigation was instantly launched, meaning we would not learn of his suspension for multiple weeks. With Hinch being fired so abruptly by Houston, John Henry and the Red Sox were really left with no other option. They were backed into a corner, and from a PR standpoint, it would look terrible if they stood by Cora and kept him employed. Shortly after the news broke, they parted ways and ended his tenure.
Regardless of what comes out from the investigation inside the Red Sox clubhouse, no one can take away all the good that Alex Cora did for the 2018 team. He changed the careers of Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez, while turning Rafael Devers from a prospect into a star and guiding Mookie Betts to an MVP. He made baseball matter in the city for the first time in five years. The energy and buzz around the team was at an all-time high, it was as if they could do no wrong. With all of that said, he absolutely had to be fired. Although I think it is safe to assume that just about every team in baseball steals signs, this was pretty egregious. The fact that he was the ring leader of the same scandal on two different teams, in back to back years, in which both teams won the championship, meant he had to go down for this.
The real question now is who will be Boston’s manager when spring training starts in two and a half weeks? I am not sure that anyone actually knows, even the front office. In a perfect world, it is believed that they would promote bench coach Ron Roenicke. The problem with that is the fact that once this investigation reaches its conclusion, there is a chance that he gets punished as well. If he had any involvement whatsoever, he probably going to be fired, never mind promoted. Looking at potential coaches from outside of the team, a common name that has been tossed around is Jason Varitek. While he is a great candidate and someone who Boston would fully accept, it has been widely reported that while he wants to eventual manage the Red Sox, he is not ready to take the job at this time. Personally, I would love them to try to hire Mike Lowell. Not many people know the game as well as he does, and he represented the team extremely well during his time here. Either way, fans should expect a decision to be made within the next week or so, and it’s hard to tell who it will be.