Red Sox spring training officially is underway.

Pitchers and catchers reported to Fort Myers last week, and the remaining position players followed suit Monday as Boston held its first full-squad workout at JetBlue Park.

The Red Sox, who are coming off back-to-back last-place finishes in the American League East, have their fair share of doubters this season.

So, what was manager Alex Cora’s message before camp began in earnest?

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“You’ve just got to find your identity. That’s the most important thing,” Cora told reporters Monday at Fenway South. “Whatever we have gone through the last two years, we’re still the Boston Red Sox. You try to get better in certain areas. It’s not that you’re going to be close-minded and not look around at what other organizations are doing to improve. But for a while there, we did things the right way.

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” … I think our player development philosophy is a good one. The way we go about it at the big leagues is a good one. We get criticized, like every other organization, but kind of like remember who you are. It doesn’t have to do with free agents or player development or if you’re No. 1 in Baseball America. If you look at the body of work the last 20 years, we’ve been very successful. I don’t care what people think. There are four rings to show it.

“So, yeah, you’re always looking for the North Star or whatever — trying to be like that, or like this, or whatever — but sometimes doing that, you forget who you are. And obviously, for the new players, probably they don’t know what I’m talking about. But for the people who work here and have been working for a while here, I’m like, ‘Remember who we are.’ Let’s not forget that. I don’t care what people think. Two last-place finishes, all that. We’re really good at what we do. And I think we’ve got to get back to that.”

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The Red Sox won the World Series in 2018, marking their fourth title since 2004. They also advanced to the American League Championship Series in 2021, losing to the Houston Astros in six games, as Cora returned to the bench following a one-year suspension.

But Boston was plagued by inconsistency in 2022 and 2023, finishing with a 78-84 record in each season. With the AL East looking very strong, and the Red Sox having a relatively quiet offseason, many are projecting another down year for Boston in 2024.

Was Cora’s message an attempt to rally the troops, so to speak?

“Not really. I’ve been thinking about this for a while,” Cora said. “It’s one of those that you look around and you look at what we’re trying to accomplish, what we have tried to accomplish since I got here in November of ’17. Different philosophies. Different (baseball operations leaders) — Dave (Dombrowski), Chaim (Bloom), now (Craig Breslow). But at the end of the day, we are who we are. Teams are going to go through stretches — good ones and bad ones. Not everybody can be the Dodgers that have been in the playoffs (11 years in a row). … That’s cool. That’s great, right? But when you’re in the dance, you’ve got to win it. And we’ve been in the dance a few times and we won it. Nobody can take that away from us.

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“Now have we struggled the last few years? Of course. Yeah. Three out of four. Even ’19 we struggled. That was a struggle for us. But I just wanted to make sure I was loud and clear of the way I see it. I think sometimes trying to emulate other organizations, you deviate from who you are. And hopefully, we can get back to who we are, and other organizations are like, ‘We want to be like them.’ Right now, obviously, that’s not the case. But what really matters is what we think in (the clubhouse), how we go about our business, and, honestly, I think we’re in a good spot.”

The Red Sox begin the regular season with a 10-game, three-city West Coast swing, before then returning to Fenway Park for their home opener April 9.

There’s plenty of work to do before then, though, and a solid spring training could go a long way toward catapulting Boston in 2024.

In the meantime, it’s incumbent upon the Red Sox to find their identity.

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Featured image via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images