On Tuesday night, the Red Sox and Alex Cora mutually agreed to part ways in light of his role in the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. Cora and his now-former team still await the results of Major League Baseball’s investigation into Boston’s alleged sign-stealing in 2018.
Looking beyond the immediate impact of Cora’s departure, the 2020 Red Sox currently have blank space where there used to be a manager. Spring training begins in less than a month, and the question now is who will be Cora’s successor?
Despite the timing, Boston appears to have a number of available options. Here are some of the regularly mentioned names experts have identified so far:
On Wednesday, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom was asked about the possibility of hiring one of Cora’s former assistant coaches during a press conference.
“We’ve just started to discuss that obviously in the last day and we haven’t reached any conclusions other than that I fully expect we’re going to consider internal options as well,” said Bloom.
With that in mind, here are a few internal possibilities:
Ron Roenicke: As bench coach under Cora for two seasons, Roenicke is familiar with the team and its day-to-day needs. He also managed the Brewers from 2011-2015, a period which included an appearance in the National League Championship Series. Still, Roenicke isn’t seen as a leading candidate.
“His role in Boston has always been as more of an adviser for Cora, who when hired was a first-year manager with one year of coaching experience,” wrote Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic. “This isn’t to say Roenicke couldn’t do the job, but he might not be the right fit.”
Jason Varitek: The former Red Sox captain would be a “popular choice with the fan base,” as MLB.com’s Ian Browne noted. Varitek was a core member of the 2004 and 2007 World Series champions, and has been back in the organization since 2012 as a special assistant. That said, he has no official experience as a manager.
Here’s what Red Sox president Sam Kennedy said of Varitek on Wednesday:
— Mike Petraglia (@Trags) January 15, 2020
Dustin Pedroia: The longtime Red Sox second baseman was mentioned by Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe, who noted that the experienced Pedroia “concievably could be a player-manager.” However, Pedroia has expressed “little interest” in anything other than playing.
“Pedroia will probably make a good manager someday, but it doesn’t feel like now is the time,” noted McCaffrey.
Billy McMillon: Described by Browne as a “rising name in the minors,” McMillon has managed at every level of the Red Sox minor league organization. He has experience coaching current Boston players like Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Xander Bogaerts (among others).
Eduardo Perez: After a lengthy playing career, Perez has held several coaching positions, including being named the 2008 Puerto Rico Baseball League Manager of the Year after leading Leones de Ponce to a championship. More recently, he’s been a studio analyst for ESPN. Hiring someone from the media has proven possible in the past, given that both Cora and Yankees manager Aaron Boone held similar posts at one point.
“There are few former players in the game who are more universally liked among peers,” Browne explained. “Perez has a natural way of relating to people, which would certainly help him as a manager. And his baseball intellect is well known.”
Mark Kotsay: A former Red Sox player in 2008-2009, Kotsay has been with the Athletics in multiple roles since 2016. He’s currently Oakland’s quality control coach. Earlier in the offseason, he was a candidate for the Giants and Pirates managerial vacancies.
Matt Quatraro: The Rays bench coach has been with Tampa Bay since 2017, with previous coaching experience alongside Terry Francona in Cleveland. His name has been mentioned as a possible Red Sox candidate given his connection to Bloom.
However, MLB insider Ken Rosenthal reported that Quatraro is “unlikely” to be considered:
#Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro unlikely to be a candidate for #RedSox’s managerial opening. Rays staffers who have left organization to become GMs and managers in past typically have not taken other employees with them. Some teams have rules in place to that effect.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 15, 2020
Brad Ausmus: Described as “cerebral” by McCaffrey, Ausmus would be a better fit for Bloom’s analytical approach to the game than several other currently available former MLB managers. On the other hand, he’s been fired two times in the last three seasons, and has an underwhelming career record of 386-422 as a manager.