The Boston Red Sox appear to be focused on Alex Cora in their managerial search, and could even make a quick hire.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic first identified Cora as the favorite to land the job.
Cora fits the young, energetic, enthusiastic profile they may seek, and after burnishing his résumé as the bench coach of the ALCS-participating Astros (the team that beat the Red Sox), is the one candidate being closely looked at by all four teams with managerial openings.
Red Sox team president Dave Dombrowski is also interviewing Brad Ausmus, whom he hired in Detroit, and veteran manager Ron Gardenhire, the current bench coach of the Diamondbacks. One person familiar with Dombrowski’s thinking suggested the common belief is that it is most likely between Cora and Ausmus, who has a fantastic background and résumé but managed to mixed results in Detroit and was let go after this season.
Dombrowski himself has a mixed record for managerial hires, with his best two both being Jim Leyland; the pair won a World Series in Miami and got to two World Series in Detroit. Dombrowski has taken some real flyers – remember Luis Pujols? – in some of his other calls but has been at his best playing it safer.
People love the personable Cora, who’d interviewed about a half-dozen places before (many seemed like token interviews) but seems to be a sure bet to land one of the four jobs this time, especially after Manager of the Year candidate A.J. Hinch has offered glowing recommendations.
Ausmus won the respect of his players in Detroit and was handicapped by an aging roster, but the team seemed to slide even beyond what was expected in the second half. Some believe Ausmus might benefit by taking a year off (a la Terry Francona), but this opportunity may be too good to pass up if he can get it. Ausmus grew up in Connecticut a Red Sox fan and Jim Rice fan, has a home nearby and went to Dartmouth (his daughter is there, as well). He turned down a chance to interview with the Mets, so it seems clear Ausmus has a particular interest in the Red Sox.
Gardenhire was interveiwed in Detroit by Dombrowski four years ago, but at the time it was pretty clear he was behind Ausmus on the pecking order.
The Red Sox are still evaluating whether or not to interview additional candidates, though it’s clear Cora and Ausmus remain the favorites to land the job.