Red Sox: Alex Cora should be the next manager

BOSTON - SEPTEMBER 03: Alex Cora /

Alex Cora could be making a return to the Boston Red Sox. It would just be in a different capacity.

Yesterday it was reported that Houston Astros bench coach Alex Cora is the top candidate for the open managerial position of the Boston Red Sox.

It was also reported that the Red Sox have asked the Arizona Diamondbacks for permission to interview bench coach Ron Gardenhire. Cora’s interview with the Red Sox was on Sunday.

Both Cora and Gardenhire are ideal candidates for the managerial position in Boston. Both have been in dugouts before as coaches and in Gardenhire’s case, he’s been a major league manager before. A very good one, might I add. But there’s one thing Cora has that Gardenhire doesn’t.

Cora knows what to expect in Boston.

From 2005-2008, Cora donned the Red Sox uniform. Throughout that time, he was known as a clubhouse guy and a leader. He was a prominent voice in a star-studded clubhouse. He won a World Series with the Sox in 2007. He experienced the immense pressures of playing in Boston and succeeded.

The Red Sox’s vacant managerial position is unique; it’s like no other. There are no other manager jobs in all of baseball that hold “experience in that city” higher than “experience actually managing.” In Boston, already knowing how to handle the city and the microscope that the team is under 24/7 is the most important qualification.

In Boston, things are just different.

BOSTON – OCTOBER 13: Cora played in Boston from 2005-2008.
BOSTON – OCTOBER 13: Cora played in Boston from 2005-2008. /

Cora fits this perfectly. He knows what it takes to win here and more importantly, knows what it’s like. He was in Boston for the 2007 and 2008 seasons – arguably the two best Red Sox teams in recent memory.

He also knows how to handle playing here. The biggest challenge of being manager of the Red Sox doesn’t come on the field; it comes off of it. The pressure and scrutiny that is consistently on the team crushes some players. Some people and managers can’t handle it. Look at David Price: He gets in fights with media members all the time because of his inability at handling the pressures in Boston.

Terry Francona, manager of the Red Sox from 2004-2011, always talked about how in Boston, the hardest part of the job is letting the players play and shielding them from the outside noise.

You don’t really know what it’s like to play and work in Boston until you’ve actually done it. Even though Gardenhire has a lot more experience at the helm of a team, he never has played or worked in Boston.

Also, the Red Sox are in desperate need for a new voice in the clubhouse. They need a leader. They need guidance.

They need a new culture.

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When David Ortiz retired at the end of 2016, the leader for the Red Sox was unknown. It was repeatedly said that this past season’s team was Dustin Pedroia‘s. But after the Manny Machado incident back in April and Pedroia getting then-manager John Farrell thrown out of an elimination game in the ALDS, that narrative of Pedroia being the leader went out the window.

The core of this Red Sox team will most likely be in place for the next 10 or so years. The culture with those players seems to be more centered around having fun rather than being competitive.

Chris Sale loves the competitiveness aspect of baseball while it seems as though guys like Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Andrew Benintendi just love baseball, not so much the winning aspect of it.

With the core as it is now in Boston, regular season success should be expected. Winning championships should be the goal.

Next: Is Xander Bogaerts done in Boston?

Undoubtedly Cora is the guy, as the Red Sox need a real, true clubhouse presence and voice to come in and instill this from day one of Spring Training all the way until the end of the season.

And for Red Sox fans, hopefully the end of the season ends with a fair amount of champagne.