SPRINGFIELD — Red Sox bench coach Ron Roenicke prides himself on honesty. He’s an extension of Mike Scioscia, serving as both Scioscia’s bench coach and third base coach for 10-plus seasons with the Angels.
So, baseball’s most recent cheating scandal, which involved Alex Cora, left Roenicke despondent more than anything.
“I’m close with him,” Roenicke said of Cora, noting that he also managed Cora in Double A for the Dodgers. “He’s a good friend. So, any time something like that happens, it’s just a sad, sad day. It’s a sad time for all of us.”
The Red Sox are under league investigation and were asked not to comment on the 2018 Sox team that is alleged to have cheated with an electronic system like the Astros did in 2017. But when asked if his team did anything illegal in 2018, Roenicke said he believed his team played the honest way.
“No,” he said. “We had a tremendous team in 2018.”
Roenicke’s name has been thrown around as a potential Sox managerial candidate. He managed the Brewers from 2011-15 and has served as the Sox’ bench coach for the past two years.
“We’ll see what happens with that,” Roenicke said on potentially filling Cora’s role. “I enjoyed it. It’s hard to think about things when it’s so recent what happened to him. I’m always content in my role. Coaching is fun. It’s a fun job. Managing is challenging. I enjoy it, I love the challenge of it. I wasn’t really thinking about it, but my phone lit up every day.”
Another potential candidate is Carlos Febles, who said he would relish the opportunity to manage the Red Sox.
“This is a great organization,” said Febles, who is also a close friend of Cora’s. “If you want to manage in the big leagues, this is the place you want to do it.”
Febles has not yet spoken to chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom about the job.
“It’s been crazy the last few days. But I’d like to talk to him,” Febles said.
Febles played six seasons in the majors with the Royals. He joined the Red Sox as a minor league coach in 2007 and went on to manage seven seasons before joining the major league staff in 2017. Febles managed Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr., Rafael Devers, and several other Sox players in the minors.
Hiring an internal candidate could be a risk while the team is under investigation. If the league proves that the Sox were, in fact, cheating in 2018, there could be some collateral damage, resulting in some other coaches losing their jobs if any particular assistant was involved in the scandal.
However, that’s not a concern of Roenicke’s, who intimated that even when he was a third base coach and could have legally given the catcher’s signs to batters, he chose not to because he didn’t feel it was right.
“It would be concerning if something happened that I knew I was a part of,” Roenicke said. “I know what I do, and I always try to do things the right way.”
Julian McWilliams can be reached at julian.mcwilliams