Alex Cora reportedly has some stiff competition from a candidate with close ties to the Boston Red Sox' top executive.
The Red Sox' manager race is expected to come down to Cora and Philadelphia Phillies integrative baseball performance director Sam Fuld, who has a "very real chance" to land the job, MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported Thursday.
The Boston Globe's Alex Speier reported there's a third candidate -- either Miami Marlins bench coach James Rowson or Pittsburgh Pirates bench coach Don Kelly -- still in the mix, and that New York Yankees bench coach Carlos Mendoza has been ruled out.
Cora, who managed the Red Sox to a World Series title in 2018 but parted ways with Boston in January amid the fallout of the 2017 Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal, has "the support of ownership, fans and some star Red Sox players," per Heyman.
But the X-factor is chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, who overlapped with Cora for less than three months last offseason and knows Fuld well from his tenure with the Tampa Bay Rays.
"Fuld, who is from (New Hampshire) and is well regarded, can’t be ruled out here as Bloom is said to love him going back to their Rays days," Heyman tweeted Thursday.
Cora drew rave reviews during his two seasons as Red Sox manager and would be a natural choice to return to his old post. However, Bloom may want a fresh start as he rebuilds this team from the ground up -- in which case Fuld sounds like the man for the job.