Former Red Sox manager Alex Cora met in person with Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and general manager Brian O’Halloran last Friday, according to two major league sources. Yet the likelihood that Cora returns to the role he occupied from October 2017 through January 2020 remains unclear.
Adding to the uncertainty, Red Sox officials met Monday with another candidate — making it clear that even if Cora is being considered for a return, they continue to explore alternatives.
To date, the Red Sox have proceeded more deliberately than other teams in their search for a new manager — a search that is itself a product of Cora’s sudden departure last January amid a sign-stealing scandal from his time as bench coach of the Astros.
The two other teams that made managerial hires this offseason completed their searches last week — days after the World Series — with the White Sox hiring Tony La Russa and the Tigers tapping A.J. Hinch.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, conducted first-round interviews with at least nine candidates and advanced to second interviews with at least four beyond Cora: Phillies player information coordinator Sam Fuld, Pirates bench coach Don Kelly, Yankees bench coach Carlos Mendoza, and Marlins bench coach/offensive coordinator James Rowson.
Cora’s résumé contrasts starkly with those of the other known candidates. None has major league managerial experience or a history with the Red Sox.
That made it natural for many to view Cora as the favorite to return. Yet while Cora was popular throughout the Red Sox organization during his four seasons as a player in 2005-08 and his two seasons as manager, he does not have an established in-season working relationship with Bloom, who joined the Sox from the Rays in October 2019.
The pace of the search has thus fueled speculation both inside and outside the organization that Bloom may want to bring on a new hire. But others believe it is simply the reflection of a methodical, thorough process.
The one certainty is that Bloom has had the opportunity to meet with Cora, and to directly address concerns or questions he might have.
Alex Speier can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @alexspeier.