Alex Cora’s message to Red Sox players should be warning to front office, ownership

Boston Red Sox Spring Training
Boston Red Sox Spring Training / Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

No matter what happened with the Boston Red Sox this winter — or, more accurately, what didn't happen — the team still has to play this coming season.

Spring training games are right around the corner. The Red Sox are about to show what they've got in preseason exhibitions, and few fans are excited about the state of this club. Players have also expressed their concerns about the state of the team to the front office, and it just didn't seem like the men in charge are hearing it.

Manager Alex Cora delivered a pre-season speech to his squad, not just to get them more excited for spring training games, but to remind them who they are.

"You’ve just got to find your identity. That’s the most important thing,” Cora said. “Whatever we have gone through the last two years, we’re still the Boston Red Sox. You try to get better in certain areas."

Alex Cora's speech to the Red Sox should serve as a warning to management

His speech sounds like it would be better served as a wake-up call to management and ownership than the players on the field, who are doing their best with what they've been given.

Before the offseason, management identified areas that required improvement to go from a last-place team to a competitive club. The biggest of those areas was starting pitching, which is, somehow, worse than it was last season.

Cora hit every single stinging point for fans and players in his speech. He mentioned the team's two straight last-place finishes, not signing any free agents, and a change in the direction of the team by management.

It sounds like Cora is pleading for help from the front office. A team that was once one of the highest spenders in the league and a perennial playoff contender for almost two decades has been replaced with the shell of a roster it's working with now. The need to save money has overcome the need to compete — the need the front office promised it would meet this season.

Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy weighed in on Cora's statement, and he said everything fans would expect from John Henry's sacrificial lamb.

He called Cora's speech, "a reminder of what this organization has been about and what we want to be about, which is playing competitive baseball into October.” He also said Cora emphasized "trying to focus on what you can do to control the outcomes versus what others are saying."

But the state of the Red Sox was created by the front office. The lack of experienced players on the roster now, the decision to wait to field a competitive team, and the lowball offers to free agents are all choices the front office made while telling fans it was trying its best. In other words, all of these outcomes were completely controllable. Boston opted to be bad this coming season instead of making the choices it needed to compete.

Cora said multiple times that "[they're] still the Boston Red Sox." But then contradicted himself later on. He also said, "hopefully, we can get back to who we are."

And that's probably because he knows the team he's coaching isn't up to the Red Sox standard and that it was a series of bad choices by ownership that brought them here.

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