Red Sox Nation fell in love with Alex Cora years ago when he wore the uniform as a player, but he etched his name into the history books as a manager.
It’s been a weird and wild offseason for the Red Sox. We’ve had an investigation, a franchise-altering trade, and a season cut short due to a global pandemic. One thing that felt certain was that we’d be seeing Alex Cora in the manager’s office for 2020 until it wasn’t.
When the news broke about the Houston Astros and their shenanigans it was a matter of time before the guillotine dropped onto Alex’s neck. Not too long after MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred handed down his punishment to Houston, Cora and the Red Sox would have their own news.
It was laid out that the two sides mutually parted ways and though I don’t doubt there was some level of that, it was clear Boston wanted to begin distancing themselves from the skipper. Luckily for AC, the ownership group didn’t go about it in their usual method and drag his name through the mud. In fact, it was the opposite and that’s where things get a bit murky.
Cora’s bench coach Ron Roenicke was named the interim manager and later promoted to the manager once the Red Sox received their punishment from the MLB’s investigation. However, even with the successor in place, the specter of Cora loomed over the organization all winter and into spring training. Even as the team was preparing to move into a new chapter, fans and even players couldn’t stop wondering about AC.
Though the team made it pretty clear that Cora wouldn’t be back anytime soon, they still left the door open a crack thanks to their ambiguous wording. Red Sox President Sam Kennedy made it seem like the possibility was strong as long as Alex showed that he was reformed. Then Chaim Bloom spoke on the matter and let everyone know that the team wasn’t even looking in Cora’s direction.
So two of Boston’s top brass are sending two very different signals to the fans, and for the most part, Cora has been silent on the matter. That all changed this weekend with a very short, sweet, and poignant tweet from the World Champion.
In response to a fan giving the former skipper some grief, Cora didn’t hold back. As classy as ever, a trait that we’ve come to expect from him, he was straightforward. The interaction came to reality thanks to AC giving some bonus commentary for Game 3 of the 2018 World Series. It was a blast rewatching the game with Cora throwing in the tidbits of what his thought process was for each and every move he made that night.
That’s one reason why I think the baseball world is better off with him managing a Major League club. Obviously there will be some that don’t want Cora managing ever again let alone for the Red Sox, but it’s hard to deny his skill. Remember 2018? Remember how damn great that season was? It felt like Cora was playing chess while everyone else was making their way through Chutes & Ladders.
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Both as a player and manager he’s shown the affinity for mentoring younger players and helping them at the big league level. It’s something that we saw both Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers speak about over the winter when it was unclear what Cora’s future would hold. In my eyes, it would be a shame for AC to no longer be in the game of baseball at some level.
His eye and mind for the game could be an asset not only in the clubhouse but also in the front office. I don’t see him becoming a GM or anything in that area but I think he’d excel greatly as a scout or in player development. I’d love for I’m to do something with the Red Sox as he’s someone who has come through for Boston on and off the field, but I also understand if he doesn’t want to return.
If you polled 100 members of Red Sox Nation asking them if they’d like to see Cora return as a manager I’m sure the results would be close to 50-50. It feels like for every one pro AC fan I see online, there’s one ready to counter that fandom. For me, I’d love to see Alex Cora running this team once again, but under the right circumstances.
Don’t push Roenicke out the door just to make room for Cora in 2021. Roenicke’s deal expires after this season but if he performs well enough I could see an extension worked out to retain him at the helm. Then again, Alex may not want to return to the game in that manner, or even at all. If you’ve ever heard him speak then you know he’s charismatic as all hell. Add in the way he can describe and explain to the intricacies of the game, and I could just as easily see him over at the MLB Network. Whatever he chooses to do with his future, I’ll always be a fan of AC.