Red Sox

When it comes to Mookie Betts' future with Red Sox, Xander Bogaerts is just as clueless as rest of us

When it comes to Mookie Betts' future with Red Sox, Xander Bogaerts is just as clueless as rest of us

SAN DIEGO -- Xander Bogaerts was born within a week of Mookie Betts in October of 1992, but that doesn't stop him from feeling like the former MVP's big brother.

And so it is that All-Star shortstop -- named a starter on the inaugural all-MLB team on Tuesday -- finds himself conflicted about Betts' future.

On the one hand, Bogaerts wants what's best for Betts, and if that means scoring a record payday in free agency, then so be it. On the other hand, if the Red Sox decide they're not the team to pay him, then Betts could be traded this winter.

"Obviously he's been a huge part of our organization and coming up through the system, and playing so many years with him, and the type of player that he is on and off the field," Bogaerts said. "He's so good on the field, but he's just even better off the field. I know we're pretty much the same age, but I still feel like I'm his older brother by a little bit. He's one of the best players in the game. It would be sad to see him leave. Hopefully, they can find a way to work things out, but Mookie's a grown man now, and he knows what decisions are in his best interests."

What the Red Sox plan to do with Betts remains the most pressing question at the winter meetings, but they don't seem to be feeling much urgency. On Tuesday, an executive with a team that has interest in the right fielder expressed mild surprise that the Red Sox hadn't yet engaged, suggesting that the Sox aren't aggressively shopping him, at least not yet.

It's possible the market for Betts will heat up once the best free-agent position player -- Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon -- finds a new home. The Dodgers have been linked to both Rendon and Indians All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor, who could be traded. If they miss out on both, Betts would be a natural target.

The same goes for the Angels, who reportedly offered right-hander Gerrit Cole nearly $300 million before he signed a record deal with the Yankees. The Angels are also reportedly in on Rendon as they look to upgrade a roster that desperately needs to add talent around MVP Mike Trout, although neither Betts nor Rendon would upgrade their biggest weakness, which is starting pitching.

Bogaerts will watch the saga unfold from afar like the rest of us, hoping against hope that the Red Sox find a way to keep the five-tool outfielder who's technically six days his junior (Oct. 1 vs. Oct. 7).

"I know there's a lot of stories, a lot of stuff being said about the team and what moves we should and shouldn't do," Bogaerts said. "I know there's a lot. I can't keep up with it all, but we'll see what happens. Once spring training comes around, we'll have a better idea obviously of where we are as a team. As of now, I'm also waiting."

And if this is it for Betts, at least Bogaerts will have one final memory. When Betts scored from first on a deflected single to walk off the Orioles on the final day of the 2019 season, Bogaerts was the first player to greet him at the plate.

"I was in that picture when he got the last run of the year last year," he said, "so that will be a nice picture if he's gone."

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Merloni: Why Alex Cora could return as Red Sox manager in 2021

Merloni: Why Alex Cora could return as Red Sox manager in 2021

Alex Cora and the Boston Red Sox mutually agreed to part ways last week as a result of the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal. But is there a chance he could return as Boston's manager in 2021?

That'll depend on the length of Cora's impending suspension. The ex-Red Sox skipper is expected to receive at least a one-year ban for his role in the Astros scandal, and it could exceed that if MLB finds wrongdoing by the 2018 Red Sox in their current investigation.

The Red Sox, though, believe they'll get off scot-free. If that's the case, Cora could be a managerial candidate again in 2021 and thus a reunion with Boston would be a possibility.

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Thursday on NBC Sports Boston's "Boston Sports Tonight," Lou Merloni explained why it would make sense to hire an interim manager like bench coach Ron Roenicke for the 2020 season and then explore options -- potentially Cora -- next offseason.

To me, I don't think Chaim Bloom his first hire for a manager he goes out and hires the best of what's left ... The next manager, I don't think you want to just take what's best. You want to wait and, you know, that's why you want to go interim for a year, and then you look at a bigger pool. One that may include Alex Cora ... 

Cora's a longshot. But we've got to see what happens with the investigation. We've got to hear from him after the investigation. We've got to see how the summer goes, the PR, how Roenicke does. I think you say, 'Ron, you're the manager of the team. We'll re-evaluate at the end of the year, there's no promises, I'm not going to give you a four-year deal, and you'll be up for the job next year too. We'll see what happens.'

Given Cora's current reputation around the league for his involvement in the Astros cheating scandal, it's difficult to imagine the Red Sox bringing him back. However, owner John Henry reportedly had every intention of keeping Cora, so maybe it wouldn't be so farfetched after all.

Tomase: Handicapping the Red Sox managerial candidates

Lou Merloni: Red Sox 'believe they will [get off scot-free]'

Lou Merloni: Red Sox 'believe they will [get off scot-free]'

The Boston Red Sox are facing a lot of unexpected uncertainty at this stage in the offseason. The team fired their manager Alex Cora amid a sign-stealing scandal from his time with the Houston Astros. And now, they're searching for a replacement.

At this point in the offseason, there aren't a lot of options available. And most of the best candidates may come internally.

That said, the Red Sox will want to make sure that none of those internal candidates, namely Ron Roenicke, were involved in any sort of sign stealing during Cora's Red Sox tenure.

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And just how would they do that? Lou Merloni offered up a potential solution on NBC Sports Boston's Early Edition on Thursday night.

"What you do is you don't even name the manager," Merloni said. "You go into spring training if you have to, whenever this investigation is over. Roenicke runs the team. [Jason] Varitek has more responsibility in camp.

"And when the report comes out -- and if it's what they believe it is, that they're clean -- then Roenicke's the manager, 'Tek's the bench coach and you go from there with no promises of the future and you just say this is the way we go. I think that's the easiest transition for everyone in that locker room."

This definitely would be a sensible route for the team to take. Essentially, they can have Roenicke continue to serve as the manager without officially naming him the manager until they know the results of the investigation.

And according to Merloni, the team does believe that Roenicke and other members of their staff are clean and as a result, the team won't be punished.

"I'm hearing that they believe they are [going to get off scot-free]," Merloni said. "They believe that what they're told is true and that they didn't do anything. And if they didn't do anything, there's no reason for punishment."

It's unclear exactly when the MLB's investigation will be complete, but this will certainly be something to watch moving forward. For the time being though, the Red Sox seem content to stick with what they have provided that everything comes back clean.