Former Red Sox manager Alex Cora isn’t taking the bait when it comes to the speculation that he could return to his old post in 2021.
Speaking to Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe, Cora said he hopes new Sox manager Ron Roenicke gets a fair chance to prove himself and that returning to Boston is not currently on his mind.
“They have a good group over there,” Cora said. “Hopefully Ron gets a chance to manage and he’s going to do a good job. Me talking about being there obviously right now is not even part of the equation.”
The Red Sox and Cora mutually parted ways on Jan. 14 after Major League Baseball found Cora to have played a key role in the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal in 2017. In April, Cora was suspended for the 2020 season after the league found he did not have a role in any cheating while with the Red Sox.
Because Cora’s suspension is only for one year and Roenicke’s contract expires after the season, many have speculated that Cora could supplant his former bench coach in 2021. During his suspension, Cora isn’t allowed to have any contact with members of the Red Sox’ organization and doesn’t seem to be confident that he will return to his old post in the spring.
“Obviously I’m suspended,” Cora told Shaughnessy. “We’ve decided we have to move on, and as of now, I don’t want to . . . they have their hands full with the season there.
“They have a good group of guys, and [chief baseball officer] Chaim [Bloom] is going to do a good job. I love the city, I love the franchise, they gave me a shot. We have a great relationship, but that doesn’t mean we are going to go that route. I need to respect that.”
In May, Bloom threw cold water on the idea of a reunion with Cora on WEEI’s “Ordway, Merloni and Fauria.”
“I understand why people would ask that question,” Bloom said. “I get that it’s kind of an obvious question in the air. But I just want to return to what I said on that day which is the reason that we parted ways with Alex was not because we were presuming any involvement or any guilt in the investigation into the Red Sox. We were reserving judgment on that just like we were asking all our fans to. It was because of what went on in Houston, his role in that and how we felt that impacted his ability to lead our club. All of that obviously is still true. So that’s not part of the thought process at all. It’s not on our radar.”
Cora also tweeted that he might not want to return to a managerial role last month.
“Maybe I want to do something else,” he said.
Cora also told the Globe’s Shaughnessy that he was surprised by what MLB’s investigation report included about J.T. Watkins.
Watkins was the only member of the organization who Major League Baseball suspended for involvement in the Red Sox’s 2018 illegal sign stealing scheme. Watkins was suspended for the entire 2020 season.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred wrote in his report, “I find that J.T. Watkins, the Red Sox video replay system operator, on at least some occasions during the 2018 regular season, utilized the game feeds in the replay room, in violation of MLB regulations, to revise sign sequence information that he had permissibly provided to players prior to the game.”
Shaughnessy said in his article he suggested to Cora that Watkins was singled out for the Boston scheme like Cora was singled out for Houston’s scheme.
“I don’t want to get into specifics with this,” Cora told Shaughnessy. “I went through a lot with MLB. I respect the decision of Rob in the Houston one. I was very honest with MLB in the second one.
“It sucks that I was part of both investigations. It was [expletive] hell. Going through the whole process for seven months. I remember when it came out, Nov. 12 or 13, whatever.”
Cora added in the article, “I know J.T. and how he works. I trust the guy. Was I surprised at what came out? Yes, I was.
“I would love to go public with everything, but I can’t … I want to stay away from it as much as possible until I have to.”
Bloom said on April 22 that the team has no plans to fire Watkins.
“Right now, at this time, we don’t plan to take any additional action against J.T.,” Bloom said during a conference call. “We think the penalty obviously speaks for itself.
Story by Chris Cotillo, masslive.com