FORT MYERS, Fla. — Ron Roenicke always made the most sense as Alex Cora's replacement and Red Sox players knew it.
With the team about to name Roenicke interim manager, it's worth noting what players have had to say about the avuncular 63-year-old since Cora lost his job in January.
During Winter Weekend in Springfield, DH J.D. Martinez made no secret over whom he expected to land the job.
"I could see it coming from within," he said. "Ron is a great candidate. He knows our team. I wouldn't be surprised if it's Ron."
Cora's bench coach is the one internal candidate with big-league managing experience. He went 342-331 with the Brewers from 2011-15, leading the Brewers to the 2011 NLCS and finishing second in the NL Manager of the Year voting.
"He's awesome," reliever Matt Barnes said on Tuesday at JetBlue Park, before the Roenicke news broke. "He knows the game incredibly well. I think it will be nice having a familiar face with somebody who knows the guys, who's been there, who has the experience that he has."
The fact that Roenicke has received an interim tag reflects three realities. One is the impracticability of undertaking a managerial search so close to spring training, when prime candidates from other organizations are already locked up. Another is the continuity that an internal choice represents. And finally, new baseball boss Chaim Bloom deserves an opportunity to hire his own man under less trying circumstances.
Still, Red Sox players sound happy with Roenicke in the here and now.
"Amazing," said outfielder Jackie Bradley. "Very intellectual guy. Great mind. Has a love for the game. He's great."
He'll now get a chance to prove it.