BOSTON -- It has been quite the October for Alex Cora, who was officially named the 47th manager in Boston Red Sox history on Sunday. Cora and the Red Sox agreed to a three-year contract that will run through the 2020 season and includes a club option for the 2021
BOSTON -- It has been quite the October for Alex Cora, who was officially named the 47th manager in Boston Red Sox history on Sunday. Cora and the Red Sox agreed to a three-year contract that will run through the 2020 season and includes a club option for the 2021 season.
However, Cora has some work to do at his existing job first. He is the bench coach for the Houston Astros, who are gearing up to play the Dodgers in the World Series, which starts on Tuesday night in Los Angeles.
Once the series is over, Cora will settle into a dream job of not only managing in the Major Leagues for the first time, but doing so for a franchise he won a World Series championship with as a player in 2007.
The job went to Cora exactly a week after he interviewed in New York with Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski during an off-day in the American League Championship Series. Cora was one of three candidates Dombrowski interviewed in his search for John Farrell's successor.
"I am extremely honored and humbled to be named manager of the Boston Red Sox and I want to thank Dave, John Henry, Tom Werner, and Sam Kennedy for giving me such a tremendous opportunity," said Cora in a press release issued by the Red Sox. "Returning to the Red Sox and the city of Boston is a dream come true for me and my family and I look forward to working towards the ultimate goal of winning another championship for this city and its great fans.
"At the same time, I want to express my appreciation for Jim Crane, Jeff Luhnow, A.J. Hinch, and the entire Houston Astros organization for giving me the chance to start my coaching career. It has been a very special season and an incredible organization to be a part of and I am looking forward to the World Series and winning with this group."
In accordance with Major League Baseball rules regarding announcements during the postseason, the Red Sox and Astros will refrain from further comment until after the completion of the World Series.
A formal press conference with Cora and Dombrowski will be held at Fenway Park at a time to be determined. Dombrowski, Red Sox owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner also expressed their thoughts on the hiring of Cora in a Sunday afternoon press release.
"We were very impressed when we interviewed Alex," said Dombrowski. "He came to us as a highly regarded candidate, and from speaking with him throughout this process, we found him to be very knowledgeable, driven, and deserving of this opportunity. He is a highly respected and hardworking individual who has experience playing in Boston.
"Alex also has a full appreciation for the use of analytical information in today's game and his ability to communicate and relate to both young players and veterans is a plus. Finally, the fact that he is bilingual is very significant for our club."
Dombrowski also interviewed Brad Ausmus, who managed for him in Detroit, and Ron Gardenhire, who wound up replacing Ausmus as manager of the Tigers at the end of last week.
After the interview in New York, Cora quickly became Dombrowski's top target, and the Red Sox were successful in landing him.
"In Alex we have found a natural leader to guide our clubhouse," said Henry. "He is extremely smart with a dedication to what it takes to be successful in today's game on the field. His baseball acumen and his ability to think strategically are uncommon for someone his age. We could not have found a better match for our players, our front office and for where we intend to go over the coming year as an organization."
"As someone who has played in Boston and knows what it takes to win here, Alex is uniquely positioned to instill a championship culture," said Werner. "Baseball is in his blood and we could not be more pleased to have found someone so accomplished to lead our team. Welcome home, Alex."
Cora brings a well-rounded skill set to the table. He is known for having strong communication skills with players and was always known for his intelligence as a player, something that can only help him as a manager. Cora's experience in his first season as bench coach under Hinch this season has been invaluable.
In particular, the Red Sox were looking for a manager who works well with young players, and that is viewed as one of Cora's best strengths.
The former utility infielder was with the Red Sox from 2005-08 and he played in the Major Leagues from 1998-2011. He is the 22nd former Red Sox player to manage the club, and the first since Butch Hobson (manager from '92-94).
Cora should be in good position to succeed in his first managerial job. The Red Sox won 93 games and the American League East division titles in each of the last two seasons and have a core of talented young players (Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Jackie Bradley Jr.) to go along with an ace (Chris Sale) and elite closer (Craig Kimbrel), both in their primes.
Though Cora has just one year of experience as a Major League coach, he spent the past five winters as general manager for the Criollos de Caguas in the Puerto Rican Winter League, doubling as the club's manager for two of those (2014-15, '15-16). Last winter, his Caguas club earned Puerto Rico its first Caribbean Series title since 2000. Cora also was the general manager for the Puerto Rico team that finished second in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
Before going to the Astros, Cora spent four years as a baseball analyst for ESPN and ESPN Deportes.
Soon enough, he will start another exciting new chapter. First, he gets to experience the thrill of coaching in the World Series.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.