With one-year ban almost up, could Cora and Sox reunite?
Back in January when the Houston Astros cheating scandal was confirmed and the Astros received their punishment, the fate of Alex Cora as Red Sox manager became extremely uncertain given the fact that he was named in the report as the one who started the entire cheating system the Astros set up in 2017 when he was Houston's Bench Coach.
Well roughly 24-48 hours later, it was announced that both Cora and the Red Sox agreed to "mutually part ways" officially ending his two-year term as manager of the team. The organization made it clear the he was not let go due to the team's extremely disappointing title defense of their 2018 championship, it was due to his role with the Astros scandal. While at the same time the Red Sox were then being investigated by Major League Baseball for the exact same reason.
Good news that came out of that? The Red Sox cheating scandal was found to be extremely less egregious than what Houston did as the Astros cheating was throughout two full seasons and their 2017 World Series run. The Red Sox cheating in 2018 was over the course of just a few games during the regular season. Good news for Cora was that he was never mentioned in the report as he had no knowledge of any cheating going on. The Red Sox were acquitted by the league saying that the evidence showed that the games were from the regular season and saw nothing from the 2018 postseason. The Red Sox still had to pay a fine and were stripped of a draft pick for their scandal. However the punishment was more of slap on the wrist.
Alex Cora was punished accordingly for his role with the Astros as he and former Astros Manager A.J. Hinch and General ManagerJeff Luhnow are currently serving a one-year ban from baseball. The ban ends the day after the World Series concludes. That is when all three are eligible to work with an MLB organization again.
It's not a question that all three will eventually find a job in baseball. Hinch will probably move on to a team that desperately needs a new voice in the clubhouse. Luhnow will most likely take over a team that needs a complete overhaul. What about Alex Cora however? Cora has come out publicly and said that he wants to manage again, while other rumors are going around that he would love to come back and manage the Red Sox again. Question is, would you welcome Alex Cora back? Does John Henry want Cora back to lead his team.
It seems like a risky move but it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world either. Especially after a season like this, both Cora and the organization could benefit from this not only for the short-term, but for a long run as well.
When Cora took over for John Farrell following the 2017 season, he won over the clubhouse rather quickly as he got everyone on the same page from the first day of spring training in 2018, all the way through Game 5 of the World Series. Cora was able to befriend the entire clubhouse, while at the same time not trying to sugarcoat anything and putting his foot down when he needed to. 2019 was a rough season for the Red Sox as they got off to a poor start, and right when you thought they found a groove finally, they would lose three to four games at a time. That was the type of season Cora dealt with, despite the roster roughly being the same team from 2018.
Prior to the offseason craziness and his firing, it was rumored that Cora's job could've been in jeopardy after the team fired Dave Dombrowski. However, the organization quickly squandered those rumors and publicly said that Cora's job was safe.
As the 60-game MLB shortened season comes to a close for the Red Sox, which has been a miserable one at that. Many questions still loom for the Sox. One of them being the most important job on the team. The managerial position.
Prior to spring training Bench Coach Ron Roenicke was named the interim manager before officially being named manager shortly after MLB shutdown spring training due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.
As the Red Sox enter the final week of the season, they sit in last place of the American League East, the conversation should be made about Roenicke's future with the Red Sox. Will new Chief of Baseball Operations Chaim Bloom want to hire his own candidate for the job or will he stick with Roenicke for the foreseeable future? Or will he go back to the man that he was forced to let go in Alex Cora?
There's obviously many pros and cons about bring back Cora; whose reputation among baseball will forever be tainted. Some of the pros is that Cora could quickly win the clubhouse back, especially how Cora had an excellent relationship with star players Xander Bogaerts; JD Martinez and Rafael Devers. If these three can rally behind Cora, sure enough the rest of the team will as well. A major con is that hie rehiring could turn into a sever distraction to the team. Plus would Bloom want to bring him back? We know ownership loved Alex Cora as the manager of the team, but does Bloom have the same vision.? Given the fact that Bloom never got the chance to evaluate Cora as a manager.
Current manager Ron Roenicke recently spoke with WEEI's Ordway, Meloni and Fauria's afternoon radio show expressing his desire to manage the Red Sox next season. "Even as crazy and tough as this season has been, yes. I definitely do. It's something that I wanted to do. I was gone for awhile after I managed Milwaukee so it wasn't something I was like 'I have to do this again .' But I wanted to do again" Roenicke said.
Roenicke has also stated that neither he, Bloom, or the organization have spoken about his future with the team, as that will be addressed at the end of the season. It makes sense given the fact that there are may more distractions out there and MLB has just been trying to complete their season despite all the COVID outbreaks, they can see the finish line to the regular season. The Red Sox hope to finish out the season without any hiccups despite being out of the postseason picture.
Roenicke was asked if he would come back in 2021 as bench coach either under Cora or someone new. Roenicke said: "I don't know. I haven't really thought that far. With Alex, it's different because I like him, I respect him, he's a good manager and he brought me over when I knew I could help him. With somebody else, it would be different."
We'll just have to wait and see what the Red Sox decide to with the offseason looming rather quickly and Cora's one-year ban will officially end around the end of October, depending on when the World Series wraps up. By then, we should have a good idea as to where the Red Sox stand with the decision on who will lead the team in 2021 and beyond. It is possible that Bloom decides to either stick with Roenicke or lets him go and bring in someone new. Or he reverses course and brings back Cora to the possible delight of the Red Sox clubhouse and potentially ownership as well.
One thing that is abundantly clear, and you can take his quotes anyway you like, but Ron Roenicke is practically saying that he will return to his duties as bench coach if the Red Sox do in fact bring Cora back, compared to if someone else. Translation: Roenicke would rather be the manager of the Red Sox and won't be comfortable being bench coach if someone else was brought in to manager. If Cora returns, he would gladly be the bench coach.
With the season coming to a close, while the calendar year 2020 cannot end soon enough, the Red Sox will have a lot to look at. Not just the general roster, but the top seats of the coaching g staff.
This could be yet another interesting offseason for the Red Sox.