Red Sox

Getting to know Ron Roenicke, potential next man up for Red Sox at manager

Getting to know Ron Roenicke, potential next man up for Red Sox at manager

Here's a name Red Sox fans might want to reacquaint themselves with in time for spring training: Ron Roenicke.

The 63-year-old bench coach would be a natural replacement now that the Sox have parted ways with Alex Cora after MLB's investigations into sign-stealing involving both the Astros and Red Sox exposed Cora's involvement.

A baseball lifer who was a first-round pick of the Dodgers in 1977, Roenicke is the one member of Cora's staff with big league managerial experience.

He oversaw the Brewers from 2011-15, beating out Joey Cora (Alex's brother) and Bobby Valentine to get the job. He led the Brewers to 96 wins and the NLCS in his debut, finishing second in the Manager of the Year voting to Arizona's Kirk Gibson.

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Though Milwaukee didn't reach the playoffs again in his tenure, Roenicke did oversee the development of a core that included MVP Ryan Braun, Gold Glove center fielder Carlos Gomez, and All-Star catcher Jonathan Lucroy.

The soft-spoken former outfielder is considered an excellent communicator and even-keeled presence.

He managed Alex Cora in Double A in 1997, making such an impression that Cora tabbed the former Angels third base coach to join him on the bench and provide guidance when he took over the Red Sox prior to the 2018 season.

"We didn't have a good team in that Texas League," Cora said in 2017. "We barely had prospects, and we ran away with the first half and the second half, and then we won the whole thing. He's a guy that is always paying attention to the game and pays attention to details. And that's when I realized, maybe you're not the fastest one, but you can steal a few bases. Or you don't have power, but you can look for certain pitches and try to do damage.

"He sees the game in a different way. I saw that all the way back then, and I really liked what he did with us."

Roenicke has expressed interest in returning to managing since joining the Red Sox, telling the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo in 2018, "I miss it."

And now that Cora is out after two seasons, the Red Sox have to focus on who's going to be their manager in 2020. 

Roenicke certainly belongs among those possibilities.

"One thing a player can't have is have you panic," Roenicke told the Boston Herald in 2018. "If he thinks you've panicked or the coaches have panicked, then they lose that trust in you. If there's principles you think are really important, the good and the bad, you need to stick with those. You can't be friends with the players when things are good, then when they're bad all of a sudden you're screaming and yelling. That doesn't work.

"They see through that in a hurry and that's not the right way to go about it. If there are certain beliefs that you have, when they start going wrong you need to stick with those beliefs and let them know we're all in this together. Let's stick with what we think is going to work and we'll come out of it."

Is now the right time to trade Mookie Betts? Red Sox have all the evidence they need

Is now the right time to trade Mookie Betts? Red Sox have all the evidence they need

If Mookie Betts and the Red Sox are really $100 million apart, then the Red Sox should stop pretending he has a future in Boston and trade him right now.

WEEI's Lou Merloni reported on Wednesday that last year the Red Sox made Betts an offer in the 10-year, $300 million range, and he countered with 12 years and $420 million. That gulf is so sizable that meeting in the middle at $360 million might be considered unacceptable by both sides.

When the Red Sox infamously lowballed ace Jon Lester before the 2014 season, after all, their four-year, $70 million offer was probably only one year and $30 million less than Lester would've considered a legitimate starting point. And he still shut down negotiations before being traded and then joined the Cubs in free agency.

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At this point, the Red Sox have as much information as they need to discern Betts' intentions.

He wants to be paid closer to Mike Trout's $426.5 million than Manny Machado's $300 million, and he plans to do so in free agency. Keeping him in the hope that he suddenly agrees to an extension when he has never been closer to hitting the open market feels like a denial of reality.

That's why the chatter of Betts heading west to either San Diego or Los Angeles has suddenly intensified. Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom should play the division rivals against each other to secure the best deal and move on.

Personally, I'd be focused on unloading both Betts and David Price to the Dodgers, paying enough of their combined $59 million in 2020 to land a package built around a promising young player like outfielder Alex Verdugo, and getting a jump on life in a post-Mookie world.

The alternative is keeping him until the trade deadline, letting this story hang over both player and organization through July, and then being unable to pull the trigger because the team clings to the periphery of the postseason race, at which point the Red Sox are left with basically nothing.

Trading Betts now doesn't even preclude the possibility of him signing long-term, because if the Red Sox decide they simply can't live without their former MVP, his desire to reach the market could actually cut back in their favor. Nothing would stop them from making a massive offer next winter and trying to bring him back, à la the Yankees after trading closer Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs for three months in 2016.

That said, if the Red Sox trade Betts, I suspect it would be forever, and there's a case to be made for that, too. Ten- or 12-year deals are generally bad business, no matter how talented the player, because there are too many ways they can sour.

The Angels have been riding out Albert Pujols' decline almost from the day he signed a 10-year, $240 million contract in 2012 at age 32, and even if he had signed at 28 before winning back-to-back MVP awards, it would still be money poorly spent. The same goes for Robinson Cano (10 years, $228 million), Miguel Cabrera (effectively 10 years, $292 million), and unfortunately, Dustin Pedroia, who's not going to see the finish of his eight-year, $110 million extension in 2021, thanks to a degenerative knee injury.

Betts is younger than all of them (27), which works in his favor, but we have not made nearly a big enough issue of his size when calculating the risk of a lengthy deal. He stands only 5-foot-9, and that's not a stature that yields longevity.

Since 1980, only three players that height have delivered a .900 OPS in at least 100 games after age 30 — Matt Stairs (twice), Lonnie Smith, and Kirby Puckett. For $35 million a year, .900 feels like a reasonable floor, but for players Betts' size it's actually a pretty hard ceiling, with his most promising comps being Puckett — who saw an eye injury end his career at age 35 — and former Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada, who made five All-Star teams between ages 30 and 35.

Otherwise, we're talking about players such as Chuck Knoblauch, Marcus Giles, Brian Roberts, Pedroia, and Jimmy Rollins — undersized stars who peaked in their 20s before experiencing precipitous declines in their 30s. Cleveland's Jose Ramirez could join that group, which might even include Hall of Famer Tim Raines, whose case became borderline based on his 30s.

In any event, there's now more than enough evidence for the Red Sox to experience clarity on their most pressing offseason issue: it's time to trade Mookie Betts.

MLB Rumors: Red Sox interested in Mark Kotsay for managerial opening

MLB Rumors: Red Sox interested in Mark Kotsay for managerial opening

The Boston Red Sox's search for their new manager has been rather slow, but a new candidate may be emerging.

The Red Sox reportedly have an interest in Oakland Athletics quality control coach Mark Kotsay, according to MassLive.com's Chris Cotillo.

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Although Kotsay, 44, a former outfielder who played for the Red Sox in 2008 and '09 in a major league playing career spanning more than 16 years, has no MLB managerial experience, he has worked in the San Diego Padres' front office as well as serving on the Padres and Athletics coaching staffs since retiring in 2013.

After firing Alex Cora earlier this month, the Red Sox have been linked to multiple managerial candidates, including Ron Roenicke, Jason Varitek, Dino Ebel and Joe McEwing. Although Boston is still in the thick of the managerial hunt with spring training approaching in two weeks, MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reported that the Red Sox are unlikely to make a hire before next week.