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Alex Cora won’t visit White House with Red Sox

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Red Sox manager Alex Cora will not attend the Red Sox’ World Series celebration ceremony at the White House on Thursday, citing President Trump’s response to Hurricane Maria’s devastation in Puerto Rico. Cora’s statement:

“The government has done some things back home that are great, but we still have a long ways to go. That’s our reality. It’s pretty tough to go celebrate when we’re where we’re at. I’d rather not go and be consistent with everything.”

Cora had been going back and forth on the matter but, after talking with family and friends, decided against going. He informed the Red Sox of his decision a few days ago. The team has been supportive of players who want to go and who do not want to go, allowing everyone to decide based on their conscience. Here’s what Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy had to say to the Boston Herald:

“We fully support Alex and respect his decision. He and I have discussed this issue frequently since last November, and I know it was a hard decision for him. I am grateful to (principal owner) John (Henry) and (chairman) Tom (Werner) for creating a culture where we discuss these issues openly, and encourage individual decision-making. I appreciate Alex for talking openly with our team and supporting those who are looking forward to being honored on Thursday.”

Several other Red Sox players have already indicated that they would not be going, including Mookie Betts, David Price, Rafael Devers, Jackie Bradley Jr., Hector Velázquez and Sandy León.

The once routine post-championship visits with the president have become anything but routine since Donald Trump took office. After the Astros won the World Series in 2017 Puerto Rican natives Carlos Beltrán and Carlos Correa chose not to attend the celebratory visit to the White House for the same reasons Cora cites. The Golden State Warriors chose not to attend, after which Trump claimed to have disinvited them. So few members of the Philadelphia Eagles planned to attend after their Super Bowl victory that the White House canceled the event.

Such is life in 2019.

Rays’ Erik Neander named Executive of the Year

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At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.

Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.

The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.

At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).