The Red Sox introduced Álex Cora on Monday as the team’s 47th manager in a press conference at Fenway Park. Cora, 42 and most recently the bench coach for the World Champion Astros, signed a three-year contract with a club option for 2021.
Cora is the 22nd former Red Sox player named manager of the club, playing in parts of four seasons (2005-08). The last club manager who also played for the Sox was Butch Hobson (1975-80), who managed 1992-94.
In introducing Cora, Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski said the new manager embodies “the type of leadership, the type of communication, the type of respect,” the club needs. Dombrowski said everyone he spoke to gave positive feedback that Cora would be “the ideal type leader for the Boston Red Sox organization.”
During the vetting process, Dombrowski said, Cora’s former boss, Houston manager AJ Hinch, said Cora is baseball 24/7. Hinch said it wasn’t uncommon for Cora to text his manager late at night about something he saw on television in another big league game, something the Astros might be able to put into use themselves.
For himself, Cora showed justifiable pride on Monday. “There’s 30 capable managers,” Cora said, “And I’m one of them,” adding that “I never thought it was going to happen this quick.” Still, Cora said he’s ready for the work ahead. “In my family, for breakfast, we talk baseball. For lunch, we talk baseball, and for dinner too.”
Cora said he and his new coaching staff would work closely with his players. “We’re going to connect with players, be genuine, and be accessible,” while he brushed aside concerns that he may be too much of a players’ manager. “People might think that crossing that line [of familiarity] is not helpful, but I see it the other way around…You embrace them, you tell them how good they are, and when you have to twist their arm and tell them ‘that’s not good enough,’ they are going to respond to you.”
Cora said he’s already spoken to some Red Sox players and will visit with many of them during the off-season. “Before I get to Fort Myers, I want to have a feeling what they are all about and I want them to understand what I’m all about and what the plans are.”
Asked why he chose Boston over any of the other clubs that called on him, Cora pointed to the uniqueness of the Red Sox and its passionate fan base. “There’s something about this place that pushes you,” Cora said. “There’s no off-days here at Fenway Park. If you need something to push you that day, well, you look around. The fans will be here and they’re going to push you to be your best.”
Some other news and notes of interest to Red Sox fans:
- Gary DiSarcina, last year’s Red Sox bench coach has moved over to the Mets in the same capacity. DiSarcina will be reunited with Ruben Amaro, who is now first base coach with Mets after holding that job in Boston the last two seasons.
- Over the weekend, the Sox named Tim Hyers as Hitting Coach and Andy Barkett as Assistant Hitting Coach. Hyers, 46, has been Assisting Hitting Coach for the Dodgers for the past two seasons, but also worked seven seasons in the Red Sox organization. In fact, Hyers filled in at the major league level in 2014 while Hitting Coach Greg Colbrunn recovered from an injury.
- Of last year’s Red Sox coaching staff, only assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez is without a position as yet for 2018.