The Boston Red Sox need a new manager, and that's a pretty unusual situation to be in with pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training in about a month.
The Sox and manager Alex Cora mutually agreed to part ways earlier this week after Major League Baseball released its report on the Houston Astros illegally stealing signs over the last few years. Cora was the Astros' bench coach in 2017 before joining the Red Sox to become their manager beginning with the 2018 campaign. Cora, according to the league's investigation into the Astros, played a key role in creating and implementing Houston's sign-stealing system.
Not only must the Red Sox confront the challenge of doing a managerial search so close to spring training, they're also competing with the Houston Astros and New York Mets for the top candidates. The Astros fired manager A.J. Hinch after the MLB suspended him through the 2020 World Series, and the Mets and Carlos Beltran agreed to part ways Thursday after he was the only Astros player mentioned in the league's investigation into Houston.
The first notable Red Sox player to react publicly to Cora's departure was Xander Bogaerts, who met with reporters before Thursday's BBWAA dinner. What kind of qualities is Bogaerts looking for in the next manager? His response didn't require many words.
What is Xander Bogaerts looking for in the next manager?— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) January 16, 2020
“Someone like Alex Cora.”
Bogaerts really enjoyed playing for Cora, and he did little to hide his feelings about what's transpired over the last few days.
“Obviously, it’s very unfortunate," Bogaerts told reporters. "I know he’s someone that we all enjoyed playing for, and I loved to just sit and have nice conversations with him baseball-wise. He’ll be someone that we’ll definitely miss a lot, me especially. (I had) such a great relationship with him.”
Bogaerts also noted the positive impact Cora had on his career. The star shortstop set career highs with 33 home runs, 117 RBI, a .384 on-base percentage and 190 hits in 2019 -- Cora's second season as Red Sox manager.
“I think he helped me get to the other level that I was trying to reach," Bogaerts said. "I’m very thankful for him. Always was a fan of him as a person, especially when he was doing the TV stuff and when he was in Houston. Just seeing him on the field -- just such a smart baseball guy, and when he came over here he just pushed all of us to heights that we obviously wanted to reach."