The Red Sox scheduled organizational meetings for this week never expecting that manager Alex Cora would become a central figure in baseball’s largest cheating scandal since the 1919 Chicago White Sox were paid off by gamblers to intentionally lose the World Series.
Spring training starts Feb. 12 and chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom has to act quickly with the team now in need of a manager.
Unless he is tainted by the investigation into the 2018 team, Cora’s bench coach, Ron Roenicke, would be an option to manage the team. Roenicke managed the Milwaukee Brewers from 2011-15 and knows the Sox well after two years on Cora’s staff.
Third base coach Carlos Febles also could be considered, along with former team captain Jason Varitek, a special assistant and occasional on-field coach. Varitek has long aspired to manage.
Second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who has played only nine games the last two seasons because of an injured left knee, remains under contract and conceivably could be a player-manager. But he has demonstrated little interest in managing or even coaching.
Eduardo Perez has many of the same qualities that made Cora an attractive candidate. Now an ESPN and MLB Network Radio analyst after playing 13 years in the majors, Perez has never managed at the highest level but has experience as a coach and winter league manager. Perez also has a deep knowledge and appreciation for analytics and speaks Spanish.
Perez, 50, is the son of Hall of Famer Tony Perez, who played for the Sox from 1980-82.
New Hampshire native Sam Fuld would be another intriguing candidate. Fuld, 38, played eight seasons in the majors, then joined the Philadelphia Phillies in 2017 as their major league player information coordinator, a new position.
Fuld interviewed to be manager of the Toronto Blue Jays after the 2018 season but withdrew from consideration. He has since been at least loosely tied to managerial searches conducted by the Cubs, Giants, Mets, Phillies, and Pirates.
Fuld also has a connection to Bloom, having played for the Tampa Bay Rays from 2011-13. Bloom was the team’s director of baseball operations at that time.
Former Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell, who is even-keeled, smart, and erudite, would be an option if he wants the job.
Three successful veteran managers — Bruce Bochy, Mike Scioscia, and Buck Showalter — are available. But Bloom’s data-driven approach would not seem to be a good fit with their more traditional methods.
Former Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels manager Brad Ausmus, a Connecticut native who graduated from Dartmouth, is a better mesh of styles. But he has been fired twice in the last three seasons.
Any of the replacements would have considerable work to do.