The Boston Red Sox might have some competition for Alex Cora.
One of the most important tasks for the Boston Red Sox this offseason will be hiring a new manager to replace Ron Roenicke, who was relieved of his position at the end of the season. There are a number of viable candidates to consider, including a reunion with former manager Alex Cora. While the team isn’t tipping their hand as to whether or not they want Cora back, another American League club has made their interest clear.
According to Evan Woodbery of MLive.com, Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila told reporters that Cora is on his list of managerial candidates.
Avila also mentioned former Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch as an option. Both Hinch and Cora are currently serving one-year suspensions for their connection to the sign-stealing scandal in Houston. Hinch was the manager of that tainted team while Cora served as his bench coach.
It’s unclear if the interest is mutual since teams aren’t allowed to speak to either former manager until their suspensions end at the conclusion of the World Series.
The Red Sox parted ways with Cora in January after MLB handed down the suspension. Boston was being investigated for their own sign-stealing accusations at the time and there was some speculation that distancing themselves from Cora would mitigate the penalty that MLB would slap them with if they found any wrongdoing on the manager’s watch. Commissioner Rob Manfred’s investigation dragged on until April, ultimately finding that Cora and his coaching staff had no involvement in this case.
Since leaving the Red Sox, Cora has been vindicated of any wrongdoing during his tenure in Boston. We also learned that he wasn’t the mastermind behind the Astros scandal. Their trashcan-banging shenanigans were part of a process deeply rooted in the organization. Houston tried to make Cora the scapegoat since he had jumped ship to another contender but the truth eventually was revealed.
Some would view hiring Cora as a controversial decision. There might be some backlash from fans who prefer to wash their hands of anyone who has ever been labeled a “cheater.” Those fans won’t like having Cora back in the dugout.
You know what else fans don’t like? Losing. Cora is winner who has proven he can handle managing in Boston and has already led this team to a World Series championship. If the Red Sox determine that Cora gives them the best chance to win, they shouldn’t let public perception sway their decision.
Clearly, the Tigers aren’t going to be put off by the stain on the reputations of these two suspended former managers. If the Red Sox refuse to hire Cora, someone else will.
Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom will want to conduct his own search and could start interviewing candidates soon. He should take his time with making a decision though. If for no other reason than to buy time until next month when Cora’s suspension ends. He does this team a disservice if he doesn’t at least wait to talk to Cora.
The Tigers are currently the only other team with a vacancy for the manager position. If it came down to Boston or Detroit, you have to believe that Cora would prefer a return to the Red Sox. If the Tigers are their only competition and they’ve made it clear they are willing to wait until the suspensions for Cora and Hinch are over, there’s little urgency for the Red Sox to rush into hiring their next manager.