The Boston Red Sox have named Alex Cora to be the fifth manager of the team in the John W. Henry era. Rick Rowand takes a look at what he brings to the table that other candidates don’t.
In a move surprising virtually no one, Alex Cora was named the newest manager of the Boston Red Sox today by VP of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski in what will be viewed as his first major test since taking over following the 2015 season. He was chosen over Ron Gardenhire and Brad Ausmus.
Cora agreed to a three-year contract with a team option for a fourth year.
In a statement released by the Red Sox, Cora said, “Returning to the Red Sox and the city of Boston is a dream come true for me and my family and I look forward to working towards the ultimate goal of winning another championship for this city and its great fans.” Cora also thanked Red Sox ownership for what he described as a “tremendous opportunity.”
Red Sox principal owner, John W. Henry, said, “He is extremely smart with a dedication to what it takes to be successful in today’s game on the field. His baseball acumen and his ability to think strategically are uncommon for someone his age. We could not have found a better match for our players, our front office, and for where we intend to go over the coming years as an organization.”
Dombrowski was effusive in his praise for Cora.
“We were very impressed when we interviewed Alex. He came to us as a highly-regarded candidate, and from speaking with him throughout this process, we found him to be very knowledgeable, driven, and deserving of this opportunity.”
“He is a highly respected and hard-working individual who has experience playing in Boston. Alex also has a full appreciation for the use of analytical information in today’s game, and his ability to communicate and relate to both young players and veterans is a plus. Finally, the fact that he is bilingual is very significant for us.”
The 42-year-old Cora was a utility infielder for 14 years in the majors, playing all infield positions. He made his debut in 1998 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, playing in 22 games, and stayed with the Dodgers through the 2004 season. He also saw stints with Cleveland, the Mets, the Red Sox, Texas, and Washington. He was with Boston from 2005 until 2008, winning a World Series Ring in 2007. His career slash line is .243/.310/.368.
Since retiring as a player, Cora has worked as an analyst for ESPN and was the general manager of the Puerto Rican national team that played in the 2017 WBC. He was the bench coach for Astros manager A.J. Hinch during the 2017 season. He has interviewed for other manager positions in previous years and also interviewed for the Mets opening this year.
Conventional baseball wisdom deems that catchers and utility players make the best managers, and Cora joins the list of infielders (Earl Weaver, Torey Lovullo, John McGraw, and a cast of hundreds) who have been tapped to be manager.
Cora brings with him experience in building a team from his time with Puerto Rican national team, a wealth of experience on the field and in the dugout, experience in working with and helping to develop young players, and experience in the use of analytics from his time with the Astros. He also has a very good understanding of the media and the fans in Boston from his time as a player with the Red Sox.
Like all new managers, Cora will be hiring his own coaching staff, but it’s hoped that he will consider keeping some of the current coaches such as Chili Davis and Brian Butterfield.
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Featured image courtesy of nysportsday.com