BOSTON — Alex Cora’s introductory press conference at noon Monday must pack a lot into a little time, a reflection of the beginning of his Red Sox tenure on a whole. The learning curve on the job will be steep as a first-year manager taking over a 93-win team that has not only won consecutive division titles, but is also staring at a shrinking competitive window.
Some of the talk at Fenway Park will revisit Cora’s previous time in Boston, as a player from 2005-08. He’ll have a remembrance of the World Series run in 2007, and what brought a 14-year big leaguer to his first career job in the big chair. Maybe we’ll get a sense of just how close he and Dustin Pedroia remain.
Managerial introductions are always celebratory. But Cora’s inauguration will stand out because he represents a landmark for the Red Sox and for the people of Puerto Rico: he’s the first Hispanic manager in club history. The Herald’s Michael Silverman discussed the broader context of Cora’s hiring at length in a piece that ran Sunday.
Beyond the getting-to-know-you talk, Cora should face some questions about the Red Sox’ future — questions that deserve something at least resembling legitimate answers.
Some things will be chalked up to, “We’ll see,” and “Time will tell.” But after the Sox said virtually nothing about why John Farrell was fired, they’d do well to talk about the vision moving forward.
By the end of the presser, Cora will have done well to establish some concrete platforms: clear beliefs and some planned approaches.
We can’t get carried away with expectations for Day 1, though. Who knows how many Sox players Cora has been able to reach, if any, at this point, and for what length of time.
On Friday, Cora was riding down the Houston streets, celebrating a seven-game World Series win over the Dodgers for his Astros. He served as the bench coach in Houston, a one-year stint that makes him nowhere close to a seasoned vet when it comes to running the show.
This is a breakneck transition all around. Cora can’t provide bullet points of planned private conversations with the likes of David Price and Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi. But the Price topic, and how he would have handled the pitcher’s encounter with Dennis Eckersley, is one that Cora can’t entirely sidestep either.
Cora can address broadly what his expectations are for his players, about the identity he wants to establish with a Red Sox team that struggled to find one following David Ortiz’s departure.
The manager sets the tone, and Monday is Cora’s first chance to do just that.