BOSTON (CBS) — Alex Cora will be back on the Boston bench in 2021. The Red Sox are bringing Cora back as manager, WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche has confirmed.
News of Cora’s rehiring was first reported by MLB Network’s Jon Heyman Friday morning.
With Cora returning, the Red Sox are hoping to return the team to its 2018 glory, when Cora led Boston to a World Series title in his first season on the bench.
Cora returns after a year away from the Boston bench, spent serving his one-year suspension for his role in the 2017 Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal. Cora and the Red Sox agreed to part ways last January after MLB’s investigation found Cora to be the mastermind behind the scheme. The Astros fired general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch after the investigation, and former Houston outfielder Carlos Beltran (who also had major role in the scandal) had to step down from his new job as manager of the New York Mets amid the fallout.
But now Cora is now back in Boston. The 2021 season will be his third as manager of the Red Sox, and Cora will look to build on the 194-132 record he accumulated over his first two seasons.
Absolutely the right move to bring Alex Cora back. Owners, front office, players love him. Knows the team inside and out and has a good relationship already with Chaim Bloom. Alex wasn’t worried at all about working with and being on the same page with him. #redsox @wbz #wbz
— Dan Roche (@RochieWBZ) November 6, 2020
Cora, of course, led the Red Sox to a World Series title in his first season on the bench. The Red Sox won a franchise-best 108 games during the regular season before cruising to a title with an 11-3 record in the playoffs, beating the L.A. Dodgers in five games in the World Series. Cora was named AL Manager of the Year, and the skipper seemed destined for a lengthy tenure on the Boston bench.
The defending champs did not live up to the lofty expectations they set in 2018, though, and the Red Sox struggled their way to an 84-78 record in 2019. Injuries plagued the team’s pitching staff throughout the season, the bullpen was ineffective, and the offense failed to deliver the timely hits that they always seemed to come through with during 2018.
Then the fallout from the Astros investigation hit, and Cora and the Red Sox agreed to part ways ahead of last season.
Cora now replaces Ron Roenicke, his former bench coach who took over for Cora nearly a year ago. Roenicke was initially named interim manager but then shed the interim tag when he was cleared of any wrongdoing in MLB’s investigation into the 2018 Red Sox. Roenicke was dismissed after a 24-36 season in 2020.
Red Sox people flew down to Puerto Rico to interview Cora late last week. Apparently, he answered all their questions satisfactorily.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 6, 2020
Cora now inherits a team that vastly underperformed in 2020, one that no longer has Mookie Betts to lead the way on offense. But throughout Cora’s season away from the team, several of his former players continued to sing his praises, and they should be pretty happy to have their old skipper back in the mix.