Who knew the release of a backup catcher would create so much controversy?
The Boston Red Sox designated veteran catcher Kevin Plawecki for assignment last week, freeing a roster spot to elevate pitching prospect Franklin German from Triple-A Worcester.
Plawecki was a popular figure in Boston's clubhouse, and his release later in the week didn't sit well with players like pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, who called the move "disappointing" and "a shock to me."
Plawecki's release faced outside criticism, as well, with many wondering why the team parted with a clubhouse "glue guy" instead of a fringe roster member like outfielder Abraham Almonte.
While Red Sox manager Alex Cora may not agree with all of the moves Chaim Bloom has made this season, he came to the defense of Boston's chief baseball officer Wednesday regarding the Plawecki decision.
"I hate that people mention business when you have to make baseball decisions,” Cora told WEEI's "Merloni, Mego & Fauria" in a radio interview.
"The same way we have to move on from (Jeurys) Familia because we needed to see other relievers -- at this point we needed to play (catchers) Reese (McGuire) and Connor (Wong) more. There’s value too with (Abraham) Almonte staying here, and people don’t see that aspect, right?"
Cora added that keeping "journeyman or Four-A" players like Almonte, Rob Refsnyder and John Schreiber on the roster allows them to essentially audition for their next job with a big-league team. Plawecki, who has eight years of major-league experience as a solid backup catcher, didn't necessarily need that audition.
"We love Kevin," Cora said. "I think Kevin is going to be OK. Probably sooner rather than later he’s going to be a big leaguer. We appreciate everything he did for us."
Cora was proven right, as the Texas Rangers signed Plawecki to a major-league contract Wednesday night.
As for speculation that morale is low in a Red Sox clubhouse that has lost multiple well-liked players since the team's run to the 2021 ALCS -- Hunter Renfroe, Kyle Schwarber and Christian Vazquez, to name a few -- Cora insisted his club is just fine.
"People have their ideas about timing, all of that. The only thing I can tell you from my end, I remember being with 15-18 people in the clubhouse after the decision was made and we had a few drinks and we talked about last year and this year with Kevin," Cora said.
“All these things about we’re split up and this, whatever -- yeah, people have opinions, but at the end of the day we’re still family, we have a great culture. We wish Kevin nothing but the best."