Chaim Bloom

Alex Cora may have been cleared, but that doesn't mean Chaim Bloom wants him managing 2021 Red Sox

Alex Cora may have been cleared, but that doesn't mean Chaim Bloom wants him managing 2021 Red Sox

The second that MLB exonerated every member of the Red Sox organization except the video guy, plenty of fans and media undoubtedly shared the same thought: welcome back, Alex Cora.

Not so fast. Not by a longshot.

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While it's true that Cora will be eligible to return in 2021, when the contract of non-interim manager Ron Roenicke just happens to expire, there's a major impediment to Cora reclaiming the job that he left only months ago in disgrace.

Chaim Bloom.

The Red Sox new Chief Baseball Officer does not share the same personal connection to the ex-manager as others in the organization, especially those who overlapped in Cora's days as a player. And how could he? The Red Sox hired Bloom just before Halloween. They fired Cora right after New Year's Day.

In the two months between, they were just getting to know each other before MLB dropped the hammer on the Astros and implicated Cora in creating Houston's trash can of destiny. 

The 2017 Astros may not have impacted Bloom's 80-82 Rays, but Cora's 2018 Red Sox helped keep Bloom's 90-win team out of the playoffs. And even if the Astros weren't banging on a trash can anymore last year, they still eliminated the Rays in Game 5 of the ALDS. Bloom would be justified in wondering if the Astros were still benefitting from any other dirty tricks Cora left behind.

He certainly has no reason to feel any allegiance to Cora, who made his already difficult job infinitely harder by dumping a managerial search onto Bloom's plate alongside the franchise-altering trade of MVP Mookie Betts.

So, if Bloom isn't feeling particularly charitable, no one should blame him. When the baseball boss spoke of his former manager on Wednesday night while addressing the release of MLB's report detailing Red Sox sign-stealing in 2018, he didn't sound anxious to facilitate a reunion.

"At the time that we parted ways with Alex, we were clear that that was a result of his role and what happened with the Astros and everything the investigation over there revealed," Bloom said. "It had nothing to do with what may or may not have occurred in Boston, and that's still the case. All the reasons we parted ways then are still the case."

Others in the organization would undoubtedly be more welcoming. Owner John Henry loves Cora, and CEO Sam Kennedy on Wednesday said that he believes Cora deserves another shot once he goes through a rehabilitation process.

"I'm a big believer in second chances and we all wish him well," Kennedy said.

There's a lot to like. The skills that made Cora such a hot commodity and then a champion in his managerial debut didn't just vaporize. He's a gifted communicator, a flexible thinker, and a unifying figure across an organization. He also remains tight with his former charges, though Bloom has already jettisoned more than a dozen players off of last year's 40-man roster and will undoubtedly continue to wheel and deal once MLB lifts its moratorium on transactions. 
Even if Cora were to return, he'd enter a very different clubhouse.

But before that can happen, he'll need to win over the new guy, and it's not clear that Bloom is interested.

"My opinion of him is very high," Bloom said. "I think people are complicated and people make mistakes. That doesn't excuse his conduct in Houston. That's something I'm sure he'll have to own and I'm sure he will own."

It just that he may have to do so on his own, because despite the "exoneration" on Wednesday, there's no guarantee his redemption tour will kick off in Boston.

Red Sox remove Ron Roenicke's interim tag, officially name him manager

Red Sox remove Ron Roenicke's interim tag, officially name him manager

Ron Roenicke is officially the 48th manager of the Boston Red Sox.

Two months after naming Roenicke their interim manager as a result of Alex Cora's untimely departure, the Red Sox have removed the interim tag. The organization was waiting for MLB's resolution to the sign-stealing investigation, which concluded Wednesday with Boston being stripped of a second-round draft pick and Cora being suspended for all of 2020.

Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom announced the move on a conference call Wednesday night.

“With that investigation complete, that interim tag is now removed and Ron is now our manager,” Bloom said.

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Roenicke's contract is up after 2020, but Bloom notes the organization is open to having him on board beyond that.

Before becoming the Sox bench coach for the 2018 campaign, Roenicke served as manager for the Milwaukee Brewers from 2010-15.

Joe Kelly frustrated with MLB's investigation of 2018 Red Sox: It's 'a debacle'

Joe Kelly frustrated with MLB's investigation of 2018 Red Sox: It's 'a debacle'

Did Joe Kelly throw a baseball into his window and break it on purpose? He's pretty frustrated with Major League Baseball's investigation of the 2018 Boston Red Sox, so... maybe.

We're kidding, of course, but that didn't stop the former Red Sox pitcher from unloading his feelings on MLB's investigation of sign-stealing by the '18 world champions.

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"The whole thing is a debacle to me," Kelly said in an appearance this week with Mike Mutnansky on WEEI radio, according to WEEI.com's Rob Bradford. "Now sitting at this point with no baseball being played and no results on an investigation, I just feel like was I dreaming? Is there actually an investigation? It’s like the Boogeyman series, what’s the deal with this thing? From the get-go, I just thought it was laugh-out-loud funny. Now that this is the last thing on people’s mind obviously with how the world is right now. Whenever the investigation is done I’m interested in seeing what is in the investigation.

"If there is cheating involved with how good our team was, we should have won every single out. We should have not even lost an inning if there was some good cheating involved, which would have been a lot more fun because we would have won [the World Series] in four. We would have swept through the playoffs and made it really, really fast and been able to go to Hawaii or go to Mexico and go on vacation a lot sooner than we did."

The current Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher isn't the only one frustrated with the holdup. Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom also expressed his frustration. 

According to Bradford, Bloom said it's "obviously frustrating" that the results haven't come out yet, but he noted it's understandable considering that MLB, like the rest of the world, has been dealing with the coronavirus and weighing various plans to save the baseball season. Still, Bloom is eager for MLB's report, "so we can all see the results and move forward."

In March, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred indicated the investigation is complete, but the report needed to be written and would be released before the long-delayed season is underway. 

The Houston Astros were disciplined months ago as a result of MLB's sign-stealing investigation of their 2017 team that won the World Series. The Astros were fined $5 million, docked their 2020 and 2021 first- and second-round draft picks and manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow received one-year bans before subsequently being fired.  The Red Sox parted ways with manager Alex Cora, Houston's bench coach in 2017, after he was implicated in that scheme. While the Red Sox await their fate, it's expected that their punishment won't be as severe as Houston's, but will likely include a suspension for Cora, who has been rumored to possibly return as Boston's manager in 2021.