The Red Sox are about to make their seventh managerial hire since 2002.
That was the year John Henry assumed the role as principal owner of the club. Grady Little, Terry Francona, Bobby Valentine, John Farrell and Alex Cora have come and gone from the corner office in the home clubhouse at Fenway Park.
Ron Roenicke joined them on Sunday. Boston announced Roenicke would not return for the 2021 season. The Red Sox finished last (24-36) in the American League East for the fourth time in nine years.
Roenicke was named interim manager in February after Boston mutually parted ways with Cora. That tag was removed in April when Roenicke signed a one-year deal with a club option. Major League Baseball’s investigation into a pair of sign-stealing scandals involving Cora — one with the Astros in 2017, one with the Red Sox in 2018 — led to an eventual suspension.
Needless to say, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom faces a busy offseason. And the specter of Cora, who will be free to resume his life in baseball after the final game of the World Series, still looms large. He guided Boston to its most recent championship two years ago and established close relationships with several key members of the Red Sox roster.
“I don’t want to say anything about Alex that I haven’t said to Alex, and obviously I haven’t spoken to Alex,” Bloom said. “There will be a time where I can get into more detail on Alex, his situation, my thoughts on it. But that time isn’t now, so I’m hoping everybody will respect that.”
Bringing Cora back would certainly win the press conference, as would another potential hire – Jason Varitek. The former Boston captain has taken a more active role with the club in recent seasons and remains a special assistant on the coaching staff. When asked in a NESN retrospective on his career if he would like to manage in the future, Varitek offered a definitive answer — “Absolutely.”
“There are other experiences people bring to the table that are also positives,” Bloom said. “I’d say the same thing for connections to the organization – I’d say that’s generally a positive thing. But you have to factor that in among all the other positives someone might have.”
Bloom spent his previous 15 seasons with the Rays, and he could turn to his former organization for another candidate. Tampa Bay bench coach Matt Quatraro was an All-American at Old Dominion and spent eight years in the minor leagues as a player. The 46-year-old has been on staff with Cleveland and the Rays as a minor league hitting coordinator, assistant hitting coach, third-base coach and the No. 2 to Kevin Cash.
“Just out of respect to that process, it’s not something where I want to get into in detail,” Bloom said. “Those types of restrictions do exist in the industry, but I also don’t expect for a job of this nature we would be limited in any consequential way.”
Two former big league outfielders with ties to the region could also be considered. Mark Kotsay appeared in 49 games with the Red Sox in 2008-09 and now serves as the quality control coach for the Athletics. Sam Fuld is a New Hampshire native, the current player information director with the Phillies and spent three years as an outfielder with Tampa Bay from 2011-13.
Depending on the impression he made last time through the process, Boston could reconnect with Diamondbacks bench coach Luis Urueta. The Red Sox reportedly interviewed Urueta in February before opting for continuity with Roenicke. The 39-year-old has been a coach in the Arizona system since 2007 and also managed his native Colombia to its first World Baseball Classic berth in 2017.
Francona could also play an indirect role in terms of adding a candidate to the field. He’s missed much of the season with Cleveland due to ongoing health issues, and first-base coach Sandy Alomar Jr. stepped in to lead the Indians to the playoffs. If Francona opts not to return and Cleveland turns its search elsewhere, Alomar would certainly figure to receive significant attention on the open market.
© 2020The Providence Journal (Providence, R.I.)