The Boston Red Sox terrible offseason continues to get worse. Following a two-month investigation into reported sign-stealing, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred released the report and it does not look good for Alex Cora. According to the investigation, Cora played a “key role” in the scandal and will likely face a large punishment. Astros head coach A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow have already earned one-year suspensions, and it’s safe to assume Cora will face a similar fate.
The only reason Cora isn’t already suspended is that he reportedly did a similar thing with the Red Sox in 2018. According to various reports, the first-year manager used live replay to steal signs throughout the 2018 season. Manfred reportedly won’t issue a suspension until this second investigation is closed, but there is no reason to give Cora the benefit of the doubt. Based on these recent investigations, the Boston Red Sox need to fire Alex Cora and look for a new manager.
Alex Cora, Boston Red Sox Must Split Ways
From an emotional standpoint, Alex Cora obviously has a strong tie to the city. The longtime utility infielder won a World Series as both a player and a coach for Boston, and this type of success typically buys some extra leeway with unfavorable events. However, the latest reports show Boston is better off with someone else leading the way.
It’s hard to imagine any scenario where Cora manages the 2020 Red Sox. He’s going to face at least a one-year suspension, so Boston will need to find a new manager for the upcoming season. However, holding onto Cora could create a divide in the locker room, as the new manager might not gain full control over the team. Even if the new manager earns complete control of the roster in 2020, keeping Cora around creates an annoying, frustrating narrative that has the potential to partially derail a promising season.
Additionally, firing Cora right now gives the Red Sox a chance to find the best manager possible for 2020. Holding on to Cora means that the Red Sox would only be hiring somebody for one season, so it would hard to find a strong managerial candidate for what is essentially a one-year rental. However, if the Red Sox fire Cora, they can interview the very best candidates on the market.
The baseball season is a long one, and dealing with a sign-stealing scandal for 162 games plus spring training is bound to wear on the players. Keeping Cora in Boston only prolongs this scandal and could derail the season before it even begins.
The damage is already done, but the Red Sox can still control the extent of this news. By firing Cora, they can control the narrative and look towards the future. If the Red Sox need a blueprint to follow, they need only look to their football counterparts in New England. The Patriots built a dynasty around Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, but a large part of their success comes from an ability to admit to their mistakes and move forward. In 2019, the Patriots made the mistake of signing Antonio Brown, but released him once he fell out of line. The Red Sox need to show a similar resolve and cut bait with a manager that is more trouble than he’s worth.
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