It has been approximately just over a week since the 2020 60-game MLB Shortened Season sprint came to end when the Dodgers won their first title since 1988 over the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday October 27th. Immediately following the final out of the World Series, the year-long suspensions for Alex Cora, AJ Hinch and Jeff Luhnow were all lifted and all three were free to talk to and get a job back with any of the 30 MLB franchises.
Last week, it was reported that AJ Hinch and the Detroit Tigers were talking since the final out was made, and on that same day it was announced that AJ Hinch would become the next manager of the Detroit Tigers after former manager Ron Gardenhire abruptly retired within the league's final week of regular season games. For a short time the Tigers were being linked to target Alex Cora and pry him away from the Red Sox, however, the the two sides never spoke once his suspension was up.
The Chicago White Sox were also looking in the market for a new manager after the let go Rick Renteria. Again, Cora was on Chicago's radar to replace Renteria. However, with Chicago not wanting to waste any time, they went out of their way and hired Tony LaRussa to be their next manager. LaRussa last managed a baseball team in 2011 when he lead the Cardinals to a World Series title.
Since Ron Roenicke's firing on September 27th (Roenicke did manage the final game of the 2020 season for the Red Sox): Alex Cora was immediately linked to the Red Sox. Mind you this was still a full month before Cora's suspension was scheduled to end. However, since the conclusion of his year-log ban, and when given the green light to interview with teams, it was reported that Cora and the Red Sox had been in contact with one another multiple times in a three day span. Those conversations immediately put Cora's name in to become manager of the Boston Red Sox.
Prior to the conclusion of Cora's suspension, the Red Sox had interviews several candidates to replace Roenicke. Most of which have been told that they were not selected to continue on for the search on who will lead the Red Sox in 2021 and beyond.
The Red Sox have narrowed down their manager search to five names in the last few days. Alex Cora's name is listed as a finalist. The four other names include Sam Fuld who has been in the Phillies front office each of the last three seasons since retiring in 2017. Marlins bench coach James Rowson; Pirates bench coach Don Kelly; and long time Yankees coach Carlos Mendoza, who served as Aaron Boone's right hand man during the 2020 season.
Obviously, the Red Sox are not short on options at all, however though Cora is the only one with managerial experience of the five remaining candidates but there is no right or wrong option for the Red Sox and the direction that they want to go in for 2021 season and possibly beyond that.
Mendoza, Kelly, Rowson, and Fuld, if one of them are selected, they have a great chance to get probably a two or three year contract from the Red Sox if one of them are in fact hired by the Red Sox. The same probably can't be said for Cora who might get a prove it or lose it type of deal.
Granted, Cora is obviously a clubhouse favorite among the players, and recently catcher Christian Vazquez publicly said that he hopes Cora returns as manager of the Red Sox. That shows loyalty to a guy, despite he got caught red handed in a cheating scandal that rocked the baseball world to its core.
It has been reported that Chief of Baseball operations Chaim Bloom and General Manager Brian O'Halloran recently flew to Puerto Rico and personally met with Cora about returning as manager.
According to WCVB's Channel 5 Boston's Chris Casper says: "what's interesting about this case to me is it seems more like ownership trying to sell Chaim Bloom on their choice than Chaim Bloom trying to sell ownership on his choice for manager."
That is interesting as it has been made that John Henry always liked Alex Cora and it was reported back in January that Red Sox owners did not want to part ways with Cora, and guarantee his job in 2021. However, at the time that would've been an extremely bad look for the Red Sox who were already dealing with trying to get reasonable assets back form both the Twins and Dodgers for Mookie Betts and David Price.
Fair to say the the Red Sox tend to be a dysfunctional group? Yes that is fair to say. Can we also say that it would be foolish for the team to bring back the man who got caught cheating while serving as bench coach for another organization? About seven months ago, sure. Right now? No. It would be a wise move for the team to bring back Alex Cora. Yes, the Red Sox will undoubtedly receive blowback about the hiring. The Detroit Tigers heard some backlash when the almost immediately hired AJ Hinch. But let's be honest, that's the most attention that a Detroit professional sports franchise has received in years. Again, not in a good way, but still.
Believe it or not, but the Red Sox would gladly sit here and receive backlash from not only the national baseball people but the local media and their fan base. The Red Sox are not afraid to take any heat if they do decide to re-name Alex Cora as manager.
Agree with this statement or not; Alex Cora is the best fit for the job. He is favored to win back his old job, and he might actually get it back.