Ron Roenicke to be named interim manager of the Red Sox

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Last week it was reported that Red Sox bench coach Ron Roenicke would be named the team’s new manager. Today the Boston Globe is reporting that that is finally becoming official. But there’s one caveat: he’ll be the interim manager. He’s only on board through the 2020 season.

There is no legal distinction between “manager” and “interim manager” in the rule book. Calling someone an “interim” manager is simply a signal that you intend to keep looking around for a better one. It’s like the open marriage of managerial titles. It’s like picking a Soviet Premier in the early 80s, back then they used to drop like flies. Which is to say that neither the Red Sox’ nor Ron Roenicke’s futures are exactly etched in stone with this hire. Not that that’s totally crazy given that the Red Sox have now had five different managers in the past ten years, two of whom won the dang World Series.

Roenicke managed the Milwaukee Brewers from 2011-15, compiling a record of 342-331. His best season with the Brewers was his first, when the club won the NL Central with a record of 96-66 and made it to the NLCS, where they fell to the St. Louis Cardinals. After being dismissed by Milwaukee he coached with the Dodgers and the Angels. He also coached for the Angels for several years prior to taking the Brewers’ job.

How long he’ll be in Boston, we have no idea.

Chris Sale to start the season in the injured list

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Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke said this morning that Chris Sale won’t be ready for the start of the season. He’ll begin the year on the injured list.

The reason is not, Roenicke says, his rehabbed elbow directly. It’s that he’s been sidelined with pneumonia and is thus a couple of weeks behind in his preparation. Roenicke, as paraphrased by Julian McWilliams of the Boston Globe, said that it was “unfair” to give sale “just four starts” this spring.

Which, as Rotoworld’s Matthew Pouliot observes, is kind of strange because Sale’s last four spring trainings have consisted of three, five, four and two starts, respectively, yet he has been deemed ready to go each year. Pouliot also notes that, if he was truly only a couple of weeks behind, as Roenicke says, he’d be ramped up to about four innings per outing or so by the time the bell rings as opposed to six, maybe, and that that’s not an unusual level of stamina for a starter in this day and age given the changes in bullpen usage. Ideal for Sale? Maybe not, but not the sort of thing one would expect to result in an IL stint to start the year.

An overabundance of caution informed by the fact that, well, the Red Sox aren’t intending to compete this year? A change in philosophy under the Red Sox’ interim new manager? Or is there something going on with Sale’s health at the moment?