November 22, 2020

2021 Coaching Staff Set; Rodriguez Says He'll Be 100% Ready Next Spring

The coaching staff for manager Alex Cora in 2021 is set:

Will Venable will be Cora's bench coach. Dave Bush (pitching coach), Tim Hyers (hitting coach), Peter Fatse (assistant hitting coach), Tom Goodwin (first-base coach) and Carlos Febles (third-base coach) are carry-overs from 2020. There are three additions: Venable, Kevin Walker (bullpen coach), Jason Varitek (game planning coordinator), Ramón Vázquez (quality control coach/interpreter).

Cora, on the 2020 Red Sox:

"I still believe you've got to play fast. You take a look at the teams around the league. The Rays, the Dodgers, the Padres, for how powerful they are, they hit the ball out of the ballpark, but they still run the bases well and are plus teams defensively. I felt like watching the Red Sox, they were a little bit behind. That's what I meant with catching up on speed. We did a good job in 2018 with that. I do believe for the way the game is going, as far as stolen bases and all that, there's value in scoring from first. There's value in going from first to third, there's value in defense and that's something I'm going to preach."

On November 12, Eduardo Rodriguez told the MLB Network Radio that after suffering through COVID-19 and an inflammatory heart condition called myocarditis he will be 100 percent ready for next season.

"I feel great. Like [chief baseball officer] Chaim Bloom said a couple of days ago, I'm going to start throwing, I'm going to start my throwing program. My workouts are going to start next week, like, lifting weights and all that. I've been doing the bike a little bit." 

Rodriguez was forbidden to do any physical exercise last summer and he began a walking program in late September. Bloom: "It's early, but things look really good so far. . . . [H]e's doing as well as we could possibly hope."

Will Leitch and Mike Petriello ( wrote up an informal draft of the top 30 free agents, "with guaranteed-to-be-right predictions" about each player's destination and contract. Here are the Red Sox-related players:

Kolten Wong, 2B
Leitch: He's the best defensive second baseman in baseball, winning a second straight Gold Glove Award, and while he was down offensively in 2020, he still put up a .350 OBP, which is more than plenty considering his defense. . . . Someone's going to be very happy with their second baseman for the next three years.
Prediction: 3-year deal with Red Sox.

James Paxton, LHP
Leitch: [Scott Boras voice] There's a great deal of interest in him. That may or may not be true, but it's not that absurd, after the mess that was his 2020 season -- and the general bust of his whole Yankees era -- that teams might be kicking the tires on him. . . . [A] team with reasonable expectations could maybe dream on 15-20 Hyun Jin Ryu-type starts before he breaks down. As a buy-low, one-year deal, pandemic-discount sort of guy, you could do quite a bit worse.
Predictions: 1-year deal with Red Sox.

Blake Treinen, RHP
Leitch: Treinen was awesome for the Dodgers and now will get a World Series ring for his troubles. There are so many teams with bullpen problems that someone will push a little harder for him than perhaps they should for a right-handed reliever well into his 30s. Let's see, who should have some money to spend? Oh yes ...
Prediction: 2-year deal with Red Sox.

Jackie Bradley, CF
Petriello: There are only two available center fielders, and Springer is going to get a giant deal. For everyone else, the only real option is Bradley, who continues to be one of the most elite defensive outfielders in baseball, while endlessly frustrating with hot-and-cold streaks at the plate. . . .
Prediction: 3-year deal with Blue Jays.

Whatta ya know? . . . Robinson Cano of the Mets was suspended (without pay) for the entire 2021 season after testing positive for stanozolol, "an unsophisticated and easily detectable steroid" in the words of the New York Times. Cano was also suspended for PEDs in 2018 and missed 80 games. This second suspension will cost Cano $24 million in salary and likely torpedoed any lingering chance at the Hall of Fame. Cano is still due $48 million for 2022 and 2023 (when he will be 39 and 40 years old).

November 6, 2020

Alex Cora Will Return in 2021 As Red Sox Manager

Back in January 2020, a virtual lifetime ago, the Red Sox fired Alex Cora as manager. Xander Bogaerts was asked what he wanted in the next Red Sox manager.

"Someone like [Cora]," he said.

You got your wish, Xander. (After an abbreviated 2020 season with Ron Roenicke at the helm, that is.)

Although the news has not been confirmed the the team, it is being reported that the Red Sox have brought back Cora as the manager for 2021.

The Red Sox interviewed as many as nine candidates before paring their list down to five and then deciding between Cora and Sam Fuld, the director of integrative performance for the Phillies.

Ian Browne ( reports chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom was "thoroughly impressed by Fuld, a rising analytics guru and former Major Leaguer he had a strong relationship with during their years together with the Rays", but Cora's "experience in managing the Red Sox to a World Series championship just two years ago -- not to mention the strong relationships he has with ownership, the front office, the coaching staff and key players on the roster -- was too compelling".

Last week, Bloom and general manager Brian O'Halloran flew to Puerto Rico to meet with Cora. the fact that they flew to meet Cora rather than vice versa seemed like a solid sign Cora was a favourite.