The Boston Red Sox face a tremendous amount of uncertainty after mutually parting ways with manager Alex Cora on Tuesday, one day after Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred disciplined the Houston Astros for their involvement in a 2017 sign-stealing scandal.
Cora, who was Houston’s bench coach in 2017, was mentioned 11 times in MLB’s ruling, which stated the appropriate level of discipline for Cora will be determined once the league completes its investigation into allegations the Red Sox illegally stole signs in 2018.
This development comes on the heels of an unsuccessful World Series title defense by the Red Sox in 2019 and during an offseason in which Boston hired a new chief baseball officer, Chaim Bloom, who seemingly is tasked with trimming payroll, if possible, to avoid surpassing the $208 million luxury tax threshold.
It’s understandable if Red Sox fans have questions about the upcoming season, especially with spring training approaching and no manager in place, and a reporter asked Wednesday during a press conference at Fenway Park involving principal owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner, team president/CEO Sam Kennedy and Bloom what message the organization has for its supporters amid the unique situation.
Here’s what Kennedy said:
“We have high expectations in 2020. We fell short last year. We talked with Chaim about the fact when he came in, we’re better than an 84-win club. We think we have a team that’s built to compete in the American League East. The bar that John and Tom have set for us here in Boston is extremely high, and we feel that pressure each and every day to try and put a great product out on the field. We have a very talented club. We think we can compete in the American League East. And we thank our fans for supporting us these past 20 years. As long as these two guys to my right (Henry and Werner) own and operate the Red Sox, they’re going to have those high expectations. We have high expectations each and every year, and as I’ve said before, the highs have been high and the lows have been low, but we come into 2020 excited and enthusiastic about a very talented team — veteran players, younger players — and excited about getting to spring training.”
The Red Sox, who won 108 games during the 2018 regular season en route to their fourth World Series title since 2004, stumbled to an 84-78 record in 2019, finishing in third place in the American League East behind the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays.
Several questions surround Boston’s roster this offseason, with Mookie Betts and David Price among the names floated in trade speculation, but those in charge remain confident in the team’s 2020 potential despite the current circumstances.
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