BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Red Sox have exercised Alex Cora’s option for two more seasons, rewarding their manager for taking them to the AL Championship Series in his first year back after a one-year sign-stealing suspension.
Cora, 46, is now under contract through 2024. The team could have waited until after the 2022 season to decide on the options, but Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom said on Monday there was no reason to wait.
“We have a lot to be proud of for 2021 and a lot of unfinished business,” Bloom said. “He’s a tremendous leader, and a wonderful partner for what we’re trying to do as an organization."
A former infielder who was a member of Boston's 2007 World Series championship team, Cora is 284-202 in three seasons as manager.
“As a leader, as a motivator, he can really bring the clubhouse to another level,” Bloom said. “He’s real, and you need that through the ups and downs of a baseball season.”
Cora led the club to a franchise-record 108 victories and a World Series title in 2018, his first season as manager. Cora was let go in January 2020 after he was identified as the ringleader in cheating by the Houston Astros while he was bench coach in 2017.
After Ron Roenicke managed the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Cora was brought back to the Boston dugout. The Red Sox went 92-70, then beat the New York Yankees in the AL wild card game and the Tampa Bay Rays in the Division Series before losing to the Astros in the Champsionship Series.
“I am beyond grateful for this opportunity to manage the Red Sox,” Cora said. “We experienced so many special moments as a team and as a city in 2021, but we still have unfinished business to take care of.”
Also Monday, Bloom said the team is in the market for pitching after left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez agreed to a $77 million, five-year deal with the Detroit Tigers. But Bloom did not commit to replacing him with a front-line starter or bolstering the staff in some other way.
Bloom said it was difficult to let Rodriguez go. The 28-year-old Venezuelan has been one of the rotation's most consistent pitchers, winning 19 games in 2019 before missing all of 2020 with heart problems related to COVID-19.
“We were fighting our emotions on this. He means a lot to people here,” Bloom said. “We’re happy for him. But we have to be comfortable with how far we’re willing to extend.”
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Jimmy Golen, The Associated Press