It was fair to wonder whether this was Chaim Bloom's call or not.
The Boston Red Sox officially announced Friday they've rehired Alex Cora as manager after his year-long suspension for helping orchestrate the 2017 Houston Astros' sign-stealing operation.
Cora is on a two-year contract with an additional two-year club option, so he could be in Boston through 2024. Considering he led the Red Sox to a World Series title in 2018 and is a clubhouse favorite, it's easy to see him sticking around for the long haul.
But Cora doesn't have in-season experience with Bloom, who took the Red Sox' chief baseball officer job less than three months before Cora parted ways with the team in February.
So, it wouldn't have been unreasonable for Bloom to target a new candidate -- like fellow Tampa Bay Rays alum Sam Fuld -- and start fresh rather than re-hire the last manager of the Dave Dombrowski era.
In a statement Friday, Bloom detailed why he still chose Cora and suggested he wasn't pressured by ownership to do so.
“Alex Cora is an outstanding manager, and the right person to lead our club into 2021 and beyond,” Bloom said. “The way he leads, inspires, and connects with everyone around him is almost unmatched, and he has incredible baseball acumen and feel for the game.
"We considered a very impressive slate of candidates – the brightest managerial prospects in the game today. Because of all that had happened, I knew that I wanted to speak with Alex once his suspension ended, but I didn’t yet know if it made sense to consider him for the job as well. Our conversations were lengthy, intense, and emotional. Alex knows that what he did was wrong, and he regrets it.
"My belief is that every candidate should be considered in full: strengths and weaknesses, accomplishments and failures. That is what I did with Alex in making this choice. He loves the Red Sox and the game of baseball, and because of that we believe he will make good on this second chance. I join our whole organization in welcoming Alex back to Boston and Fenway."
Bloom obviously is going to say the right things in a team statement, but it's notable that he framed Cora's hire as a decision he arrived at on his own after some initial hesitation.
With Cora's hire official, he and Bloom have plenty of work to do to improve a team that finished with MLB's fourth-worst record last season.