Alex Cora’s return as the Red Sox manager was widely predicted and even expected by some pundits, though the club’s managerial search “wasn’t a dog-and-pony show,” a source tells The Athletic’s Chad Jennings (subscription required). Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom spoke to a wide range of candidates, and as Jennings writes, “the feeling within the organization was, if Bloom wanted someone else, ownership would support that choice.” There was even some sentiment that Cora was initially only included in the search as “a courtesy interview,” though Bloom increasingly became convinced that Cora was the best choice to lead the club going forward.
More coaching-related notes from around baseball…
- Marlins bench coach James Rowson was the third finalist for Boston’s managerial job, Jennings writes. It was already reported that Cora and Phillies director of integrative baseball performance Sam Fuld were the other two finalists (and perhaps the top two choices) for the position, though it wasn’t known whether Rowson or Pirates bench coach Don Kelly was the other candidate to make the final cut.
- Rowson’s future still looks bright, however, as The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal writes that Marlins “officials are intrigued” by their bench coach as a potential manager of the future. Miami hired Rowson as their bench coach and something of an organizational hitting coordinator a year ago, following Rowson’s past stints as a hitting coach for the Twins and Cubs and multiple years working as a hitting instructor in the Yankees’ farm system. Of course, the Marlins already have a manager in Don Mattingly, though Mattingly’s contract is only guaranteed through the 2021 season (with a club option for 2022). It certainly doesn’t seem like Mattingly is in danger of being replaced any time soon, both due to Miami’s success last season and, as Rosenthal puts it, “it’s difficult to imagine them making a move with Mattingly and paying two managers at once.” However, Mattingly is one of the few holdovers remaining from Jeffrey Loria’s ownership, so Derek Jeter could want a hand-picked manager in charge if he feels the Marlins have fully turned the corner on their rebuild.
- Fuld may not have been the choice as Red Sox manager, but Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe wonders if the team’s interest in Fuld could make him a candidate to be the team’s next bench coach. Fuld has never worked as a coach or manager at either the MLB or minor league levels, as his post-playing career has been spent in his current role with the Phillies. If not Fuld as bench coach, the Sox could promote from within their current coaching staff, with Abraham suggesting Ramon Vazquez or Carlos Febles as potential candidates.