Ron Roenicke has some big shoes to fill in Boston, apparently.
The Red Sox recently named Roenicke their manager to replace Alex Cora, who left the team in January due to his involvement with the 2017 Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal.
According to Red Sox ace Chris Sale, Cora's departure hit the team hard, as the young manager had developed a rare level of trust with his players that paid off in a 2018 World Series title.
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"AC came in and put players in positions to succeed and took care of all of us. That's why we love and respect him so much," Sale told ESPN's Marly Rivera in a recent interview.
"That was a blow. It was a big blow and it sucked. We didn't want to see him go because of the love and respect that we had for him, and he earned that. You don't just come into a big league clubhouse and get that kind of respect. AC earned it."
Major League Baseball found that Cora played a central role in the 2017 Astros' cheating operation, and he was also the manager of the 2018 Boston team that was (lightly) punished for its own sign-stealing system.
Sale doesn't view Cora any differently after those scandals, though.
"I lost zero respect for AC," Sale said. "And look at what I did in 2017, in the (American League Division Series). ... I lost two of those three games to the Astros that were cheating, right? The very next year, AC comes over to us and we won the World Series, and I learned who he is."
In fact, Sale believes even the Astros' wrongdoings -- which had some calling for their World Series title to be revoked -- weren't that big of a deal.
"Maybe I'm different, but I believe everyone blew this thing out of proportion," Sale told Rivera.
"Let me be clear: I believe what the Astros did was wrong. That is first and foremost. But it doesn't matter. What am I going to do? Am I going to go back and change it? Am I going to go steal the Astros' rings and put a 'B' (for Boston) on them instead of an 'H'? ... There's no point in sitting around complaining about losing."
Sale has always been bluntly honest and averse to blaming others for his shortcomings, so in that context, his comments aren't that surprising.
It also sounds like the 31-year-old left-hander -- who's currently recovering from Tommy John surgery -- would welcome Cora back as Boston's manager. Whether Cora wants to return is a different story, though.