The Boston Red Sox's offseason changes will include a new first base coach.
The Red Sox announced Monday they've parted ways with first base coach Tom Goodwin. Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom insisted the move had nothing to do with Goodwin not being vaccinated against COVID-19.
"In baseball, there’s always changes," manager Alex Cora added Monday in Boston's season-ending press conference, via NBC Sports Boston's John Tomase. "We love Goody, we respect Goody but we felt, I felt, as a group, we needed to move forward."
Goodwin missed two stretches of games in August after twice being deemed a close contact of a Red Sox personnel who tested positive for COVID-19.
He also didn't coach first base during the postseason, as Major League Baseball informed teams that only vaccinated personnel would be allowed on the field and the dugout in the playoffs.
Quality control coach Ramón Vázquez took over Goodwin's first base coach duties for the final two series of the regular season as well as the entire postseason.
"We have to prepare for the postseason if we get there, and obviously, MLB ... mandated or decided the staff has to be vaccinated," manager Alex Cora said in late September, via MLB.com. "As you guys know, Goody is not, so we’ve got Goody on the bench working with the outfielders, and Ramón will be coaching first the rest of the season."
In that context, it's hard to believe Goodwin's vaccination status -- which prevented him from doing his job in the postseason -- had no impact on Boston's decision to let him go. The former MLB outfielder had been the Red Sox' first base coach since Cora was hired as manager in November 2017 and won a World Series with the team in 2018.
The Red Sox could promote Vázquez to full-time first base coach in 2022 -- he also filled in for Goodwin during the regular season -- but it sounds like the team could be looking to add a fresh face.
"We have to keep improving, from digging for information to connecting to players to connecting with the coaching staff, connecting with the front office," Cora added. "This is not a knock on Goody. It’s what we’re trying to do as a group.
"That was part of the conversations and we’ll see what we get. Whoever we decide is going to be a first base coach, he’s going to be a good one and he’s going to help us to win games."