Alex Cora candidate to return as Boston Red Sox manager?

Alex Cora could return as Boston Red Sox manager
Aug 24, 2019; San Diego, CA, USA; Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora looks on before the game against the San Diego Padres during an MLB Players’ Weekend game at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Less than a year after being fired by the Boston Red Sox, Alex Cora could potentially return to Boston’s dugout for the 2021 season.

After serving a one-year suspension for his role in the Houston Astros’ electronic cheating scandal, Cora is once again a candidate to be the Red Sox manager.

According to The Athletic’s Chad Jennings, Cora is among the candidates under consideration to become the Red Sox skipper. However, the search is ongoing and while the sides have talked, it’s reportedly “premature” to conclude he will be chosen.

The Red Sox certainly recognize that bringing Cora back comes with consequences, likely facing even greater criticism than the Detroit Tigers will receive for hiring A.J. Hinch.

Cora¬†played a prominent role in the development and execution of the cheating tactics. As detailed in MLB’s investigation, he arranged for a video room technician to install a monitor that showed the camera feed from center field. The video would be played immediately outside the Astros’ dugout, allowing players to see the signs opponents were using.

The implementation of the video feed, along with the system of banging a trash can to dictate what pitch would be thrown, came with Cora’s help. It played a crucial role in Houston winning the World Series title in 2017.

Boston hired Cora as its manager following the 2017 season. He then implemented his own sign-stealing system upon his arrival and the Red Sox won the World Series in his first season at the helm.

MLB eventually discovered Boston’s cheating methods and launched an investigation this past offseason. The Red Sox fired Cora long before MLB announced it found the team guilty of electronically stealing signs in 2018. Once again, commissioner Rob Manfred drew intense criticism for the light punishment handed down.

Cora avoided any additional time on his one-year suspension, allowing him to be reinstated after the 2020 World Series. The Red Sox were stripped of their 2020 second-round pick and banned a replay operator for 2021.

Alex Cora’s managerial record

Despite his involvement in two of the biggest scandals in MLB history, the Red Sox are still very high on Cora. The moment they moved on from Ron Roenicke, Cora instantly became a candidate in the managerial search.

Despite the red flags, Cora’s record demonstrates why the organization remains high on him. The Red Sox went 108-54 in his first season, winning the World Series. Boston went 84-78 in 2019, finishing short of the postseason after an injury-riddled campaign.

The search for a new manager is ongoing, with interviews already taking place. While Cora is a strong candidate, former MLB player and current Philadelphia Phillies information coordinator Sam Fuld, Oakland Athletics quality control coach Mark Kotsay and New York Yankees bench coach Carlos Mendoza are also leading options to take over.