Red Sox: Alex Cora considered heavy favorite to be next manager
By Sean Penney
A report suggests that Alex Cora is the front-runner to become the next manager of the Boston Red Sox. Is he the right choice?
Every ship needs a captain that can guide its crew through rocky waters. Likewise, a baseball club needs a manager to navigate a grueling schedule while steering the team on the right course to championship glory. The Boston Red Sox felt that while John Farrell was capable of getting this team to test the postseason waters, he was no longer the right fit to guide this crew to their ultimate goal.
This team needs a new leader and it appears they are on the verge of finding one.
According to a report out of Puerto Rico, Alex Cora is considered a lock to become the next manager of the Red Sox.
"“There is a 99.9 percent chance of [Cora] being named Red Sox leader,” a source told Puerto Rico’s El Nuevo Dia. “They want him for the job. That post is for him. Alex is very beloved there. And he would love to run Boston. They want to make the fast decision.”"
Cora interviewed for the position with Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski on Sunday. He’s expected to meet with the New York Mets and has drawn interest from the Detroit Tigers, although this report speculates that the Red Sox will try to convince Cora to commit to them without interviewing with other teams.
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Cora is currently serving as the bench coach for the Houston Astros. He’s familiar with the pressure of an intense media market like Boston, having played for the Red Sox from 2005 through 2008.
While Cora has no experience as a manager, he’s widely considered to be the next great candidate to make the leap. The 41-year old is highly respected throughout baseball and praised for his communication skills. A Red Sox team built around a core of emerging young stars needs a manager that can relate to the youth movement – something Farrell failed to do.
The Red Sox won a World Series title under Farrell in 2013 but that was with a veteran team loaded with strong personalities capable of holding their teammates accountable. This current roster lacks that kind of leadership. They need a manager who can reach them in ways that Farrell never figured out how to do. Based on what we’ve heard from players who have worked with Cora, he’s the type of person who can do that.
"“The guy is always bringing something to the table for the younger guys, which is great,” Astros DH Carlos Beltran told ESPN’s Scott Lauber. “He has good communication with the guys. He’s always in the clubhouse getting to know the players, getting to know which buttons he could push on each player to make them go out there and play the game hard.”"
The Red Sox still have at least a couple of other candidates on their radar. Brad Ausmus, who received his first shot as a big league manager when Dombrowski hired him to lead the Detroit Tigers, is someone to keep an eye on. Boston also received permission from the Arizona Diamondbacks to interview bench coach Ron Gardenhire, who has previous experience as the longtime manager of the Minnesota Twins.
Those are both solid candidates but it seems that Cora is the clear front-runner. If the Red Sox are still open to speaking with Ausmus or Gardenhire it would seem they are merely backup options in case Cora turns down their offer to go elsewhere.
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Despite winning 93 games and the AL East division title for the second consecutive year, there is still a feeling that this Red Sox team underachieved. Several of their top young players fell short of expectations but a change in leadership could help get them back on track.