The Boston Red Sox have hired former manager Alex Cora, the team announced Friday.
Cora led the Red Sox to the world championship title in 2018, but left the club in the midst of the Houston Astros scandal. Because of his role in the scandal, he was banned from the Major League Baseball tournament for one season.
Boston, which ended the season with a record 24-36 in 60 games, decided not to slow down manager Ron Reunic, who replaced Cora in January after working on his coaching staff.
The Red Sox were only allowed to participate after the world championship, which took place on the 27th. Contact Cora at the end of October. The lack of activity before that was a sign that they were targeting Cora.
Cora has accepted a two-year contract with a team for 2023 and 24 years, the team said.
I’m grateful to be able to go back to the game I’ve loved all my life, Cora said in a statement released by the team. Last year I had time to think and appreciate a lot of things and I understand how happy I was to lead this team again. Not participating in a baseball game and the pain of drawing negative attention to my family and this organization was extremely difficult. I regret that my previous actions have led to this and I will continue to work hard to make this organization and its fans proud of me.
Boston is where I’ve always wanted to be and I can’t help the Red Sox achieve their ultimate goal of winning in October.
The team he returns to is not quite the same team he led last time.
Haim Bloom now leads the baseball team and is just in time to break up with Cora. He welcomed Cora on Friday in the team’s statement.
Alex Cora is an excellent manager and the right person to run our club in 2021 and beyond, according to Bloom. His way of leading, inspiring and communicating with all the people around him is virtually unrivalled, and he has an incredible vision of baseball and feelings for the sport.
After everything that happened, I knew I wanted to talk to Alex as soon as his suspension was over, but I still didn’t know if it was worth considering him for the job. Our discussions were long, intense and emotional. Alex knows what he did was wrong and he regrets it. … He loves the Red Sox and baseball, so we think he’s gonna take this second chance.
Bloom’s other big move last season was trading Mookie Betts Los Angeles Dodgers, the AL 2018 MVP, with David Price to bring the Red Sox below the threshold of a competitive baseball balance load.
After the departure of Betts and Price, Chris was sold with the operation of Tommy John and Eduardo Rodriguez, who was recovering from a heart problem related to COVID-19, the Red Sox took last place in AL East.
But Cora is also hoping for an improvement for the 2021 season.
Sales are expected to pick up in the first half of the year. J.D. Martínez, All-Star winner in Boston for the first two years, will also be under contract for at least another year before fighting in the short pandemic season of 2020.
And the Red Sox have a lot of flexibility in the amount of compensation they receive under the agreement that Betts and Price sent to Los Angeles.
Cora replaced John Farrell as manager of Boston after the team finished the last two times under Farrell’s leadership, despite winning the 2013 World Series with him. With Cora behind the wheel, the Red Sox broke the regular season record of 108:54 in 2018 and easily won in East LA. They led the Majors with an average of 0.268 team victories and 876 runs.
Boston continued to dominate post-season 11-3, beating the Yankees and Astros in the AL Division and the World Series, before beating the Dodgers in the World Series.
The Red Sox failed to support their success in 2018 in Cora’s second season and finished third in the 84-78 league, 19 games behind the Yankees.
Cora, who worked as an ESPN analyst before joining Astros, played 14 seasons at MLB, including a four-year stint with the Red Sox, and won the 2007 Boston World Series. He also played for the Dodgers, Indians, Mets and Rangers before ending his career with the Washington Nationals in 2011.
Information from the Associated Press has been used in this report.