The Boston Red Sox will have a familiar face on the bench for the 2021 season, as the return of Alex Cora is all but inevitable.
The long awaited punishment for the Boston Red Sox cheating scandal came down on Wednesday, and it was essentially a slap on the wrist. Former manager Alex Cora was suspended for the 2020 season, but since he had been fired, he was not going to manage this year anyway. Scout/replay coordinator J.T. Watkins was also suspended for 2020, and is prohibited from returning to that position the following year. And, the Red Sox lost a 2020 second round pick in the MLB Draft. That’s it.
In completely coincidental and totally unrelated news, the Red Sox removed the interim tag from manager Ron Roenicke. He is now set to take the reins of the team for the 2020 campaign, presuming that there is one.
But what happens beyond that? Roenicke is under contract for 2020, and that is all. Depending on how well the season goes, he could be retained. However, it is far more likely that he was merely keeping the seat warm for Cora to return to the franchise once his suspension is over.
Based on the news surrounding the Red Sox on Wednesday, that certainly appears to be the case. Roenicke will guide the team through what should be a rebuilding year, as the Red Sox are expected to finish fourth in the AL East. The luxury tax will reset, and Boston will then be able to spend to their content.
When that happens, the Red Sox may well have a familiar face on the bench. It was specified that Cora was suspended for his part in AstroGate, not for anything with the Red Sox. Those faults were fully placed upon fall guy Watkins, with Cora innocent of those crimes. There really is nothing stopping the Red Sox from moving Roenicke back to his previous role as the team’s bench coach and letting Cora return.
Oh, there will be the expected gnashing of teeth by the pundits. How DARE the Red Sox bring Cora back after what happened? And the boos will cascade down upon the Red Sox on the road. But in Boston, he will be the conquering hero, Napoleon departing from the Isle of Elba and making his triumphant return. In the end, winning matters, and to hell with any concerns of impropriety. And, Sam Kennedy already said he deserves a second chance.
Alex Cora will be back, and managing the Boston Red Sox. Based on the road map, he’ll be back for the 2021 season.