Red Sox

Alex Cora may have been cleared, but that doesn't mean Chaim Bloom wants him managing 2021 Red Sox

Red Sox

The second that MLB exonerated every member of the Red Sox organization except the video guy, plenty of fans and media undoubtedly shared the same thought: welcome back, Alex Cora.

Not so fast. Not by a longshot.

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While it's true that Cora will be eligible to return in 2021, when the contract of non-interim manager Ron Roenicke just happens to expire, there's a major impediment to Cora reclaiming the job that he left only months ago in disgrace.

Chaim Bloom.

The Red Sox new Chief Baseball Officer does not share the same personal connection to the ex-manager as others in the organization, especially those who overlapped in Cora's days as a player. And how could he? The Red Sox hired Bloom just before Halloween. They fired Cora right after New Year's Day.

In the two months between, they were just getting to know each other before MLB dropped the hammer on the Astros and implicated Cora in creating Houston's trash can of destiny. 

The 2017 Astros may not have impacted Bloom's 80-82 Rays, but Cora's 2018 Red Sox helped keep Bloom's 90-win team out of the playoffs. And even if the Astros weren't banging on a trash can anymore last year, they still eliminated the Rays in Game 5 of the ALDS. Bloom would be justified in wondering if the Astros were still benefitting from any other dirty tricks Cora left behind.

He certainly has no reason to feel any allegiance to Cora, who made his already difficult job infinitely harder by dumping a managerial search onto Bloom's plate alongside the franchise-altering trade of MVP Mookie Betts.

 

So, if Bloom isn't feeling particularly charitable, no one should blame him. When the baseball boss spoke of his former manager on Wednesday night while addressing the release of MLB's report detailing Red Sox sign-stealing in 2018, he didn't sound anxious to facilitate a reunion.

"At the time that we parted ways with Alex, we were clear that that was a result of his role and what happened with the Astros and everything the investigation over there revealed," Bloom said. "It had nothing to do with what may or may not have occurred in Boston, and that's still the case. All the reasons we parted ways then are still the case."

Others in the organization would undoubtedly be more welcoming. Owner John Henry loves Cora, and CEO Sam Kennedy on Wednesday said that he believes Cora deserves another shot once he goes through a rehabilitation process.

"I'm a big believer in second chances and we all wish him well," Kennedy said.

There's a lot to like. The skills that made Cora such a hot commodity and then a champion in his managerial debut didn't just vaporize. He's a gifted communicator, a flexible thinker, and a unifying figure across an organization. He also remains tight with his former charges, though Bloom has already jettisoned more than a dozen players off of last year's 40-man roster and will undoubtedly continue to wheel and deal once MLB lifts its moratorium on transactions. 
Even if Cora were to return, he'd enter a very different clubhouse.

But before that can happen, he'll need to win over the new guy, and it's not clear that Bloom is interested.

"My opinion of him is very high," Bloom said. "I think people are complicated and people make mistakes. That doesn't excuse his conduct in Houston. That's something I'm sure he'll have to own and I'm sure he will own."

It just that he may have to do so on his own, because despite the "exoneration" on Wednesday, there's no guarantee his redemption tour will kick off in Boston.