Red Sox

Red Sox ownership goes AWOL, forces Alex Cora to conduct pointless press conference

Red Sox ownership goes AWOL, forces Alex Cora to conduct pointless press conference

BOSTON -- The Red Sox fired their president of baseball operations on Sunday night, so naturally they made their manager explain it.

Alex Cora addressed the media for more than 22 minutes on Monday afternoon, but there's little point in relaying what he said. An ownership group that preaches honesty and accountability found itself bereft of those qualities when it came time to explain the how and why of Dave Dombrowski's ouster.

They instead hid behind an empty press release, leaving the task of explaining how Dombrowski could be fired just 11 months after winning a World Series to one of his underlings.

Cora did the best he could, noting that owners John Henry and Tom Werner, as well as CEO Sam Kennedy, broke the news to him after Sunday night's loss to the Yankees, leaving Cora to "call an audible" and inform his team.

That led to the absurdity of Monday afternoon, when Cora was peppered with very specific questions about why ownership decided to cut ties with Dombrowski, questions he was in no position to answer. In a Belichickian twist, they let the statement speak for itself.

"I know for some people, it's probably not enough," Cora said. "For others, maybe it is. I'm just here like every day to talk to you people for whatever you guys want to talk about it. From my end, like I said yesterday, I was very surprised, but at the same time, you think about it today, and this is the guy that gave me a shot to become a big-league manager. For four or five years, you go through this process and nobody gave you a shot. All of a sudden, Dave Dombrowski, 40 years in the big leagues, decides to give me a chance to run this organization as a manager. We were successful last year. This year, not that much. This is a business where sometimes you've got to take tough decisions, and this was a tough decision.

"Ownership decided that from now on they're going to look forward for someone else to run baseball operations. They explained it very simple. The guy is amazing. He's probably a Hall of Famer, what he did for the organization the last four or five years, it was great. I think everybody appreciates what Dave has done."

Cora said lots of other stuff, but let's just stop right here, because the only ones who can explain the motivations behind this move own the team, and for whatever reason, they're not talking.

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Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke ready for MLB season despite being at higher risk of COVID-19

Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke ready for MLB season despite being at higher risk of COVID-19

Ron Roenicke isn't the average 63-year-old. He spent eight years in the big leagues and if anything has dropped below his playing weight of 180 in retirement. He remains lean and fit.

He also belongs to a high-risk group when it comes to Covid-19, the illness that disproportionately affects older populations. According to the CDC, over 90 percent of Covid deaths in the United States have occurred in people over 55.

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With spring training opening this week at Fenway Park and Roenicke back to work in Boston, the manager was asked in a Zoom call on Monday if he fears for his safety.

"I don't have a lot of concerns for myself," Roenicke said. "Of course I don't want to get this thing, but I think the protocols we've put into place have covered as much as we think we can cover. I think it's always uncomfortable. It was uncomfortable when I was home in California going to the grocery store. Anytime I left the house was uncomfortable. So that's going to be there. But our people I know have put so much into place in trying to protect myself, all the coaches and players, that we feel pretty good coming in."

As baseball prepares to enter the great unknown while gathering hundreds of players from all over the world to prepare for Opening Day in late July, safety protocols like daily heat checks, social distancing, and mask-wearing will become the game's new reality. Players are expected to arrive at Fenway on Wednesday and Thursday for Covid tests in the hopes that everyone will be cleared to begin workouts on Friday.

Roenicke underwent a test of his own on Monday and expects results by Wednesday. He looks forward to addressing his team in person as soon as it is safe to do so.

"I think whenever I'm allowed to talk to the guys as a group, I hope it's not on Zoom, because I really do want to look these guys in the face instead of having to do it through a monitor," he said. "But whenever we can and feel comfortable, probably in an outdoor setting, I'll address the different things that we all know can really hamper what we're trying to accomplish. It's not just worrying about keeping everybody safe and healthy, but we also realize we have a job to do and trying to get in shape and the challenge of trying to do both of those, and it is a challenge."

In the bigger picture, Roenicke trusts that baseball is doing everything it can to keep him safe.

"I'm really not that concerned," he said. "I still don't feel I'm old, I guess. I feel good health-wise. My doctors all say I'm healthy. I feel good that way. Obviously it's a concern, because you don't know how it affects different people. Whether you're 20 years old or whether you're 63 as I am, you still have to be concerned about trying to stay away from it and certainly the people that are older than I am, we're worried about them. . . . Hopefully we can stay as clean as possible. We know it's there. We know players are going to get it. So we'll just go along our business and try to figure out this very difficult schedule."

Red Sox announce three more undrafted free agent signings ahead of 2020 season

Red Sox announce three more undrafted free agent signings ahead of 2020 season

Less than a week after signing 11 undrafted free agents, the Red Sox were back at it again on Monday.

In a press release, Director of Amateur Scouting Paul Toboni announced the signings of three more undrafted free agents. 

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Here's the short list: 

  • Juan Montero, catcher, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy
  • Casey Cobb, RHP, University of Alabama
  • Henry Nunez, RHP, Centro Especializado De Educacion Avanzada Cedea

The total of 14 undrafted additions includes 10 pitchers (all right-handed), two catchers, and two infielders. The haul of young talent adds to their four draft selections from the 2020 Draft, which was shortened to only five rounds due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Sox had added four players through the draft since they lost one pick in the wake of MLB's sign-stealing investigation. Those players were 2B Nick Yorke, 3B Blaze Jordan, LHP Jeremy Wu-Yelland, and LHP Shane Drohan.