By Dan Roche

BOSTON (CBS) — Alex Cora served his one-season suspension for his role in the 2017 Houston Astros sign stealing scandal. He did his time.

Let’s begin with that premise when discussing his return to the Boston Red Sox.

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Cora led the Red Sox to a World Series title in 2018. He was beloved by John Henry, Tom Werner, Sam Kennedy, the front office staff, coaches, and the players. He worked for months with Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom prior to his suspension and the two bonded well.

Now they are all back together.

Cora will never forget what happened in Houston and he’ll be reminded of it whenever fans eventually return to ballparks some time in 2021. Some people in the game won’t forgive him, either. And perhaps that is fitting punishment.

But he also deserves a second chance, and that’s why he’s back as manager of the Boston Red Sox. It’s the right move for a number of reasons.

Bloom did his due diligence and spoke to numerous candidates, and he reportedly had it down to Cora and Sam Fuld. Fuld is a rising star in the game, and the New Hampshire native and former Phillips Exeter star has a tremendous future in the game. He may be a Big League manager soon. Very soon.

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But bringing back Cora was the right call for all the right reasons for the Red Sox.

Boston can be a very tough market. Cora knows it well as both a player and a manager. He handled it all with relative ease.

Cora knows his players and they know him. They love him. He was able to push their buttons to motivate them and help them succeed. They missed that last season. He gets the most out of them. Cora can also help deflect any heat coming their way.

Boston knows Cora, and that includes fans, media, and advertisers. The Red Sox have to sell tickets, merchandise, advertising and they need someone who can create a buzz and help. Cora can do that.

Cora also understands the GM/Manager dynamic. He likes Bloom, gets along with him, and is on the same page with him as well as GM Brian O’Halloran, Eddie Romero, Raquel Ferreira, Zack Scott and all the Baseball Ops. folks. He’s also is good with numbers/analytics.

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Alex Cora checks off all the boxes, and that’s why he’ll be back in the dugout with the 2021 Boston Red Sox.