BOSTON -- The interim tag has been lifted from Ron Roenicke’s title, the Red Sox announced on Wednesday. Now that MLB’s sign-stealing investigation into the 2018 Red Sox is over, Boston has made Roenicke the 48th manager in club history.
“At the time that we named Ron interim manager, we explained the interim tag was necessary in order for us to respect that there was an ongoing investigation,” Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said. “Obviously, with that investigation complete and given the results of the investigation, that interim tag is removed and Ron is now our manager.”
Roenicke will work on a one-year contract that expires after the 2020 season, Bloom revealed in a conference call on Wednesday night.
“Ron’s existing contract at the time we made this change took him through 2020,” Bloom said. “Given all the unique circumstances, obviously, of the hiring, we felt that was an appropriate term for him in this role, and that continues to be the case.”
However, Roenicke will get the chance to earn an extension once baseball returns from the shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The fact the contract runs out after 2020 doesn’t mean that he can’t or won’t manage beyond that date,” Bloom said. “It's just we thought we were best served, given the uniqueness of the situation, maintaining the length of the situation. I would repeat everything I said on the day we named him interim manager. I was really impressed getting to know him through the interview process and things I had heard about him throughout the league.”
Roenicke's title was shifted on the same day MLB announced that Alex Cora -- Boston’s manager in 2018 and '19 -- has been suspended through the end of the 2020 postseason. Cora’s suspension is for his role in the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal in 2017, when he was their bench coach.
After the Red Sox and Cora mutually agreed to part ways on Jan. 14, the Sox went on a three-week search for a successor. On Feb. 11, they announced that they had decided on Roenicke, but with the interim tag, which they have now removed.
“I’m thrilled for Ron Roenicke,” Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy said. “He’s an incredible baseball man who has accomplished a ton in his career, highlighted by the 2018 World Series championship with us.”
The 63-year-old Roenicke is a popular choice among Red Sox players to succeed Cora. The players all liked his style during his two years as bench coach, and as the interim manager until Spring Training was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic on March 12.
“Amazing. Very intellectual guy. Great mind. Has a love for the game. He’s great,” Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. said during Spring Training.
In Roenicke, the Red Sox have a manager with experience. While with the Brewers from 2011-15, he posted a 342-331 record. Most notable in that tenure was Roenicke’s first season, when he finished second in National League Manager of the Year Award voting after leading Milwaukee to a franchise-record 96 wins and the NL Central title.