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Red Sox adjusting after 'impactful' departures

@IanMBrowne
February 10, 2020

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- With a couple of days to go before Spring Training officially starts, Red Sox players were coming to grips with all that has changed in their world in a few short weeks.

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- With a couple of days to go before Spring Training officially starts, Red Sox players were coming to grips with all that has changed in their world in a few short weeks.

Alex Cora is no longer the manager. Mookie Betts and David Price are officially members of the Dodgers after Boston finalized a deal that brings outfielder Alex Verdugo, top prospect Jeter Downs and Minor League catcher Connor Wong to Boston.

Meanwhile, the players -- many of whom reported early to camp -- are waiting along with everyone else for MLB to release the results of an investigation of sign stealing on the 2018 Red Sox.

“It’s definitely something we’d like to keep behind us as a team, so I think they said they’re going to come out with their stuff this week, early this week, so we’ll see what happens,” said Red Sox closer Brandon Workman.

Adding to the feeling of uneasiness is that Cora’s successor still hasn’t been named, though bench coach Ron Roenicke is the rumored candidate to replace him.

So, no, this doesn’t feel like a typical opening of camp for the Sox.

“I mean, I think the difference right now is we lost three people who were a really big part of us, which is Mookie, DP and AC,” said Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez. “That’s what I think is a big difference right now. But like I said, this is part of the business. This is how baseball is, and we’ve got to get ready for Spring Training and the season.”

To lose both Cora and Betts is a lot to process at once, not to mention Price, a veteran all of the pitchers looked up to.

“It’s impactful having them leave,” said first baseman Michael Chavis. “This would be my first full season in the big leagues, so it’s kind of tough to say exactly how impactful it could be. But I think we have a good team, I really do. We have a lot of good players in there. We have a lot of good guys and as close as we are as a team, I really do think we’re going to be solid.”

If the reports are true and Roenicke becomes Cora’s successor, it will be a popular move in the clubhouse.

“I love him. He’s awesome, he’s a good dude,” Chavis said. “Really knowledgeable about baseball, and he’s been around the game a long time, so it’s really cool to see his analysis. He has a nice combination from the old school from his experience, but he also has a good understanding of how the new game is developing and how baseball is changing. Just having those kind of different sides in one is very interesting.”

“Ron’s great,” said Workman. “Everybody loves him. Great baseball guy. My experience with him mostly has been about the running game as a pitcher, but it’ll be exciting seeing him take charge.”

Nobody will miss Cora more than Rodriguez. Boston’s former manager prodded the lefty constantly in a way that worked.

“It’s kind of hard, especially for me because he was pushing me every time,” Rodriguez said. “As he got here, he was with me all the time. He knew what I was able to do and he showed me how to do it every time, every day. It’s kind of hard for us. He was like a father for me, he was a Latin person, too. He spoke to me in Spanish all the time, so it was a lot easier to understand what he tried to tell me and all that. It’s going to be hard for us, but like I say, we’ve got to look forward and start Spring Training and get ready for the season.”

At some point, the focus for the Red Sox will become purely baseball and becoming the best team they can be in 2020.

But right now, things just feel strange.

“There’s definitely a lot of background noise right now, but we’ll do our best to block that out and focus on getting ready for the season,” Workman said.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.