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Cora: 'We are going to keep the core'

Manager doesn't see any anxiousness as Trade Deadline nears
MLB.com

BALTIMORE -- Red Sox manager Alex Cora has been around baseball long enough to have seen his fair share of midseason trade acquisitions that have worked. But he's also seen plenty of those that haven't.

Cora recalled before Monday's series opener against the Orioles his time on the 2007 Red Sox, when Boston traded for three-time All-Star reliever Eric Gagne to try and shore up the bullpen. But Gagne struggled, posting a 6.75 ERA in 20 appearances in the second half of 2007. Though the Red Sox would go on the win the World Series that year, Cora learned that not every big non-waiver Trade Deadline deal will be the deciding factor of success by last out of the season.

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BALTIMORE -- Red Sox manager Alex Cora has been around baseball long enough to have seen his fair share of midseason trade acquisitions that have worked. But he's also seen plenty of those that haven't.

Cora recalled before Monday's series opener against the Orioles his time on the 2007 Red Sox, when Boston traded for three-time All-Star reliever Eric Gagne to try and shore up the bullpen. But Gagne struggled, posting a 6.75 ERA in 20 appearances in the second half of 2007. Though the Red Sox would go on the win the World Series that year, Cora learned that not every big non-waiver Trade Deadline deal will be the deciding factor of success by last out of the season.

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But in 2018, like '17 when his Astros acquired Justin Verlander, Cora has seen the opposite come true so far in Steve Pearce, whom Boston acquired on June 28 from Toronto. In 13 games with Boston, Pearce is 15-for-37 with five doubles, a home run, six RBIs and seven runs scored.

"Offensively, he is a quality at-bat. He controls the strike zone, he doesn't expand, he stays off the edges and he hits the ball solid," Cora said. "We've been talking about that since we've been here. That's what we want from our hitters."

By comparison, Pearce needed 42 more at-bats with Toronto to tally one more double and seven more hits than he's had since his arrival in Boston. He also provides Cora with depth at the right side of the infield and in the outfield, on top of adding an invaluable experience and leadership to the clubhouse.

"You feel as soon he walked into that clubhouse in New York, he fit right into the group," Cora noted of Pearce, who joined the team June 29 against the Yankees. "He sits with the young guys, too, which is very important for our group. … For a veteran guy to come in and being able to spend time with those guys, that's very valuable for us."

"Steve has got no ego, it's all about contributing," added Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who managed Pearce in Baltimore from 2013-15. "Just a winning player, the type of guy that teams that are contending want to add this time of year. ... There's so many things that he will do that won't show up in an analytic column."

Cora said that though president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is constantly looking for ways to improve the best team in the Majors, most players can rest assured knowing their spot will remain in Boston.

"Whatever we do, whatever happens, we are going to keep the core, which is very important," Cora said. "I don't see too many people anxious about it. Probably they talk about it, but there's not a guy that has come up to me and been like, 'Hey, man, what's going on?'"

That, Cora said, has allowed his ballclub to keep a level head and accomplish the impressive first half-season he's had as a manager.

"That has helped the players," Cora said. "They are very locked in with what they are trying to accomplish and that makes me feel good about it, because you don't have to worry about it as much."

Zachary Silver is a reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore. Follow him on Twitter at @zachsilver.

Boston Red Sox, Steve Pearce