The Red Sox parted ways with manager Alex Cora on Tuesday evening, which puts first-year chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and general manager Brian O’Halloran in an uncomfortable position with under a month remaining until spring training begins. Every managerial opening has been filled, with the exception of the Astros, who had one open up yesterday after dismissing A.J. Hinch under similar circumstances. Where do the Red Sox go from here?
Bench coach Ron Roenicke would appear to be the most likely candidate to be the club’s interim manager. Roenicke managed the Brewers from 2011-15, leading them to a solid 342-331 record. You can certainly do worse in a pinch.
The Red Sox could also go outside the organization and try to convince Bruce Bochy to return to managing. Bochy left the Giants at the end of the 2019 season, ending a tremendous 13-year run in San Francisco in which the club won three championships. Bochy intends to manage the French national team in the World Baseball Classic.
Dusty Baker would be another interesting candidate. The 70-year-old last managed the Nationals in 2016-17 to great success, albeit not the level of success they wanted and eventually realized this past season. Baker has 22 years of major league managerial experience under his belt and would bring some good will to a franchise that, at the moment, sorely needs it.
In a similar vein, the Red Sox could consider Buck Showalter, who most recently was at the helm of the Orioles from 2010-18. The O’s were rebuilding towards the latter end of that stretch and he showed the patience of a saint, perhaps a useful skill as Boston tries to mend its reputation around baseball.
If the Red Sox don’t want to go the flashy route, there’s always John Gibbons. Gibbons managed the Blue Jays for 11 total seasons split between two separate stints from 2004-08 and 2013-18. Oddsmakers are also considering pitching coach Dave Bush, hitting coach Tim Hyers, third base coach Carlos Febles, special assistant to the GM Jason Varitek, and Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro.
Let’s not forget that the Red Sox are trying to be both somewhat competitive while shrinking payroll. They went 84-78, finishing in third place in their championship defense season last year. Per Cot’s Contracts, their payroll as it pertains to the competitive balance tax sits at over $225 million. They risk remaining over the threshold for a third consecutive season, which comes with costly penalties. At some point this year, the Red Sox may decide to trade David Price, Chris Sale, J.D. Martinez, or perhaps even 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts in order to get their payroll under the $208 million line.
No matter who the Red Sox end up choosing to lead the team in 2020 — likely Roenicke — it’s going to be an interesting year in Boston, that’s for sure.