Don’t read too much into the “interim” label placed on new Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke.
Although the natural inclination is to wonder whether the tag is a way to leave the door open for Alex Cora’s eventual return to the dugout, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom explained Tuesday after naming Roenicke the team’s “interim” skipper that the decision stemmed from Major League Baseball’s ongoing investigation into allegations Boston illegally stole signs in 2018.
“After talking through it as an organization, we felt that naming Ron our interim manager was the best way to respect the investigation that’s ongoing into our 2018 club,” Bloom told reporters during a news conference at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla. “But we feel very strongly about Ron’s ability to lead this group and how well suited he is for this task.”
According to Bloom, the Red Sox will address whether to remove the “interim” label from Roenicke’s title once the league concludes its investigation. Roenicke has denied any involvement in the sign-stealing scandal, and Bloom doesn’t foresee the investigation causing issues for the 63-year-old.
“We have no reason to think there’s anything that would cause an adverse result for Ron in this investigation,” Bloom said. “Of course, the investigation is not complete. It’s not fair for us to determine that. Obviously, we can’t determine what comes out of the investigation.”
The Red Sox mutually parted ways with Cora last month after he was mentioned several times in MLB’s ruling on a separate sign-stealing scandal involving the 2017 Houston Astros. Cora was Houston’s bench coach in 2017, a season in which the Astros won the World Series.
Roenicke served as Cora’s bench coach in Boston the last two seasons, including the Red Sox’s 2018 championship campaign. This marks his second go-around as a major league manager, as he managed the Milwaukee Brewers for parts of five seasons from 2011 to 2015.
“I think him knowing our group, anybody would love that advantage, to really know a group of players and a staff inside and out,” Bloom said, further explaining the decision to promote Roenicke. “For us, it wasn’t necessarily that certain boxes had to be checked as much as the totality of everything Ron brought to the table as a candidate, including those things, that made him a very strong choice.”
The Red Sox reportedly interviewed third base coach Carlos Febles, former Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, Oakland Athletics quality control coach Mark Kotsay and Arizona Diamondbacks bench coach Luis Urueta as part of their managerial search before opting for Roenicke.
Thumbnail photo via YouTube screengrab