BOSTON (CBS) — Alex Cora is going to have a lot of work to do when he takes over the Red Sox’ bench.
In addition to changing the culture in the clubhouse, the new Boston skipper will have some vacancies to fill on his staff. Three of Boston’s coaches under former manager John Farrell left for other gigs on Thursday, leaving Cora with a fairly clean slate when he joins the Red Sox after the World Series.
Pitching coach Carl Willis departed Boston to rejoin the Cleveland Indians on Thursday morning, and hitting coach Chili Davis and third base coach/infield coach Brian Butterfield both joined the Chicago Cubs later in the afternoon.
Willis served as Boston’s pitching coach for two-plus seasons, with the team finishing with a 3.70 ERA in 2017 (good for second in the AL) and 4.00 in 2016 (fourth in the AL). He previously worked in Cleveland from 2003-09, and will now replace Mickey Callaway on Terry Francona’s staff. Callaway was hired as the new Mets manager earlier this week.
Davis had been Boston’s hitting coach since 2014, but the Red Sox offense struggled greatly in 2017. They hit just .258 for the season, and finished last in the league in home runs.
Butterfield, a Maine native, joined Farrell’s staff in 2013 after working with him in Toronto. He was Boston’s third base coach for four seasons, and felt some heat last year when the Red Sox ran into more outs on the base paths than any other team. But the 59-year-old is lauded as one of the best infield instructors in the game, so his tutelage will likely be missed in that department.
Thursday’s exodus leaves three openings for Cora to fill when the Houston Astros finish up their fall classic against the Los Angels Dodgers.