With AJ Hinch hired as the Tigers manager on October 30th, the Red Sox are now the only team still looking for a manager. As Al Nahigian pointed out in his article, this could indicate the team will bring back former manager Alex Cora. Regardless, they seem to have narrowed down their candidates, so let’s take a look at each of the options before predicting who might be coaching the Sox in 2021.
Sources suggest these are the likely finalists for the Red Sox managing job: Sam Fuld, James Rowson, Don Kelly, Carlos Mendoza and Alex Cora.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 1, 2020
Option #1: Alex Cora
This one is the obvious choice for the Sox. Having just completed his one year suspension, Cora could come back to the team he already has a rapport with. After all, he won a World Series in his first year managing the club in 2018. 2019 was a bit of a disappointment, but he dealt with a good amount of injuries, specifically to ace Chris Sale and fellow pitchers David Price and Nathan Eovaldi. There’s only so much you can do when Hector Velazquez is getting starts. Regardless, it makes a ton of sense, even with Cora’s controversy as the result of his suspension.
Option #2: Carlos Mendoza
The next finalist we’ll be discussing is current Yankees bench coach Carlos Mendoza. Mendoza just finished his first year as bench coach, but he has been with the organization since 2009. Although it was a brief season, he has experience managing some of the Yankees’ minor league affiliates and has been praised for his leadership. I despise the Yankees, but Mendoza seems like he would be a good fit if the team doesn’t bring Cora back. It would be intriguing to see how he manages, coming from Aaron Boone’s staff.
Option #3: Sam Fuld
I put Fuld in at #3 only because I’m curious what a “player information coordinator” could bring to the team. Further, Fuld will be 4 years removed from his retirement from professional baseball, which is one of the quicker turnarounds I’ve seen in the MLB. He interviewed for a few manager positions in the past few years, so it sounds like he has a lot of potential. I’m definitely interested in seeing what he could do with these Red Sox.
Option #4: James Rowson
Rowson is a bit of a different name from the ones we’ve talked about so far, as he has a bit more experience as a coach the the others on this list. He had been a hitting coach in the Yankees farm system before moving over to the Cubs in 2012, becoming the major league team’s hitting coach in June. He stayed in Chicago in 2013, then returned to the Yankees after that season. Then, he became the Twins hitting coach between 2017-2019 before becoming the Marlins bench coach last year. The Marlins were a surprise team this year, and I wonder what role Rowson had in that. If he has a lot to do with it, he sounds like he’d be a great option to return Boston to their former glory.
Option #5: Don Kelly
This one I’m definitely the lowest on of the five finalists. Kelly was a utility player during his time in the majors, ending in 2016. He spent the 2017 and 2018 seasons scouting for the Tigers, and became the Astros first base coach in 2019. He then spent 2020 on the bench for the Pittsburgh Pirates. For me, he doesn’t have enough intriguing elements in his history to stand out to me. Maybe he impressed Red Sox leadership in his interviews, though. Regardless, I definitely would prefer one of the other candidates over him.
My Manager Prediction
Like I said, Cora is the obvious choice for the Red Sox, but I could definitely see Mendoza or Fuld specifically sneaking in under him. My official prediction is Cora, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw one of the other two sitting on the bench next year.
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