Kenley Jansen proves exactly why Red Sox need to extend Alex Cora

Los Angeles Dodgers v Boston Red Sox
Los Angeles Dodgers v Boston Red Sox / Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

It's been an uphill battle for the Boston Red Sox this season. Trevor Story is on the shelf with a season-ending shoulder injury, and Tristan Casas is slated to miss significant time with torn cartilage in his rib cage. The two infielders headline a slew of other injuries to the Sox's lineup early on.

Brayan Bello, Nick Pivetta, Garrett Whitlock, and Masataka Yoshida are also sidelined with various ailments. Yet, the surging Red Sox are three games above .500 and freshly removed from a 4-2 homestand. They picked up series wins against some of their toughest opponents yet, the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants. Not only are the Sox defying expectations in the win column, but they're doing so with a depleted lineup on a nightly basis.

Red Sox pitching coach Andrew Bailey has been in the spotlight for the success of his staff so far, and for good reason. Houck and Crawford both look like aces, and newcomers such as Cooper Criswell are exceeding expectations under Bailey's refreshing philosophies.

Kenley Jansen has other ideas about why the Sox are proving the outsiders wrong through their never-ending adversity. The veteran closer credits manager Alex Cora for keeping his team grounded. Jansen went as far as calling Cora "one of the best managers in the league."

Kenley Jansen speaks highly of Alex Cora amid Red Sox's recent success

Cora is currently in the last year of his contract in Boston, there haven't been any reports that suggest he and the front office are discussing an extension. Red Sox chief baseball officer Craig Breslow recently told WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show" that he wouldn't openly discuss the status of Cora's contract. While those discussions remain looming over the Red Sox this season, one particular bullpen arm has a strong opinion of his bench boss.

Bailey may be leading the charge of Boston's pitching staff mechanically. Still, Jansen nods to his manager as the primary reason the Red Sox are playing so loose, and he offered high praise for Cora in a recent episode of the "Baseball Isn't Boring Podcast"

"I think he's a big anchor of this team that you see in this team going this direction," Jansen said. "I mean, imaging him having a superstar team."

Cora has enjoyed an up-and-down tenure in Boston since his first year at the helm in 2018, which resulted in duck boats parading through the city in October. Since then, he's led a pair of last-place finishes in the past two campaigns after a miraculous run to the American League Championship Series in 2021. It was just his first year back as manager since stepping aside for the 2020 season after he was suspended for his actions in the Houston Astros cheating scandal.

If Breslow elects to move on to a new skipper after this season, it's safe to say there will be a bidding war for the highly touted manager. But if it were up to the players, Jansen would be first in line to express his support for a new contract for Cora.

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