BOSTON — Alex Cora is here and John Farrell is not because there was a prevailing feeling at the end of the season that the Red Sox needed change, owner John Henry said on Monday.
THE RED SOX HIRE ALEX CORA
“We didn't just change managers,” Henry said after Cora’s introductory press conference at Fenway Park. “I think when the end of the season came, we were all of the mind that we needed change. Sometimes an organization benefits from change. We decided that the organization would benefit. John had a tremendous tenure here; back-to-back division championships is a really difficult thing. Sometimes you want change not just because of your results but there's a time and a place for it. We thought this was really the right time.”
Henry and Red Sox chairman Tom Werner were coincidentally in New York when the Red Sox interviewed Cora during the postseason, Henry said. So they were a part of the interview as well.
"Interview processes are limited,” Henry said. “It doesn't matter what industry you're in, but it's obviously, we left there really impressed with Alex's philosophy: the way he broke down our team and his team, the things he had to say with regard to what he thought he could bring."
Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said seven people were part of the interview process in all. Dombrowski's hiring of Tony La Russa didn't strongly suggest Dombrowski was on the lookout for the newest ideas, but to his credit, he had a wide range of people involved in Cora's hiring.
"They were all very thorough," Dombrowski said. "I thought it was important to have a mixture of individuals there, people from scouting and front office perspective. Also then having somebody like [vice president for baseball research and development Zack Scott] from the analytical perspective. And I wanted [vice president of player personnel] Jared Banner, a lot of people don’t know Jared he’s a very sharp baseball but he’s much younger, [at age 31], so I thought it was good to get perspective of all different ages in there. And when we got done we would sit down and visit and talk about it and everybody said at that point if somebody else is going to be our manager after this, they’re going to be outstanding because all of us felt so good about our meeting with Alex."
Henry said he wanted the best man, not the best man of a certain ethnicity. Henry is the first owner in Red Sox history to hire a minority as manager, with Cora hailing from Puerto Rico. On Monday, Henry said he was not seeking out anyone but the best available candidate.
“How significant is it?” Henry said when asked about hiring the team’s first minority manager. “In my mind, it did not play a role. We chose the best man. We weren't looking to make a statement; we were looking to do the best thing for the organization.”
Cora held up the Puerto Rican flag during his press conference with Dombrowski, thanking Dombrowski for the team’s relief efforts following Hurricane Maria’s devastation. The Sox said they collected money and sent some supplies.