BOSTON (CBS) — Alex Cora is spending his one-year ban from baseball at home in the Puerto Rico, but the future is certainly on his mind. Not just his future, but that of his family.
Cora, who was ousted by the Red Sox this offseason after MLB concluded its investigation into the 2017 Houston Astros cheating scandal, is eager to get back into baseball when the 2021 season arrives. He’s forming his game plan for a return, but at the moment, that isn’t at the forefront of his mind. He’s thinking more about his daughter heading off to college next year, which will dictate his decision to return to the game.
“If this was a regular time and they were playing games, I would say yes [to managing in 2021]. I would love to be back in 2021 in some capacity. I love managing at the big league level,” Cora told Dan Shaugnessy of the Boston Globe. “But right now, I’m still kind of like putting my game plan together. It’s not where I want it to be. But obviously with everything that’s going on, with my daughter going into her senior year of high school, we as a family have to see what we want to do.
“We have plans for college, but we have no idea now. Everything changed. Her situation going into college is going to be part of what I decide,” said Cora.
Cora was suspended for the 2020 season for his role with in the Astros sign-stealing scandal, which occurred in 2017 when he was Houston’s bench coach. He believes it won’t be easy to get back into MLB, but hopes to get another shot.
“They are going to look back and then they are going to have to make up their minds. But at the end, I’m paying the price,” he said. “I’m embarrassed. I’m sorry for what happened. And we have to move on. My daughter’s education is very important to me. We had talked about her going to college in the States, but now we don’t know what is going to happen.”
Baseball is on hold right now, and there is a real possibility that the 2020 season never happens as owners and the Players Association battle over restarting the campaign. But if the season does happen, speculation will grow throughout that Cora could be in line to return to the Red Sox bench in 2021.
With his former bench coach, Ron Roenicke, elevated to Boston’s manager after Cora’s ousting, the former skipper didn’t want to fuel that speculation,
“They have a good group over there. Hopefully Ron gets a chance to manage and he’s going to do a good job. Me talking about being there obviously right now is not even part of the equation,” said Cora. “Obviously I’m suspended. We’ve decided we have to move on, and as of now, I don’t want to . . . they have their hands full with the season there.
“They have a good group of guys, and [chief baseball officer] Chaim [Bloom] is going to do a good job. I love the city, I love the franchise, they gave me a shot. We have a great relationship, but that doesn’t mean we are going to go that route. I need to respect that,” he added.
Cora also touched on the 2018 Red Sox cheating scandal, where MLB found that Boston video room operator J.T. Watkins was the main culprit in a sign-stealing scheme. Cora was not punished for his role in that scandal, but Watkins was banned through the 2020 playoffs and cannot return his replay operator role for the 2021 regular season or postseason.
“I don’t want to get into specifics with this,” Cora said of that situation. “I went through a lot with MLB. I respect the decision of Rob [Manfred] in the Houston one. I was very honest with MLB in the second one. It sucks that I was part of both investigations. It was [expletive] hell.
“I know J.T. and how he works. I trust the guy. Was I surprised at what came out? Yes, I was. I would love to go public with everything, but I can’t,” he added. “I want to stay away from it as much as possible until I have to.”