USATSI

The Boston Red Sox have filled the final managerial vacancy in Major League Baseball. Boston on Friday named Alex Cora their new skipper, just weeks after announcing Ron Roenicke would return for the 2021 season.

The two finalists for the position were believed to be Cora and Sam Fuld, a former big-league outfielder who had worked alongside Red Sox executive Chaim Bloom during their shared time with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Cora, 45, had held the Red Sox job for two seasons before he was dismissed in January in response to his role in the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. It should be noted that the Red Sox were later investigated and punished for their own technological misconduct. The Red Sox replaced Cora with Roenicke, who had previously served as Cora’s bench coach. Cora was later suspended through the postseason.

Cora won 59.3 percent of the regular-season games he managed. He also led the Red Sox to the 2018 World Series title, topping the Los Angeles Dodgers along the way. Clearly the Red Sox will occupy a different spot on the win curve heading into the 2021 season — or, at least, will if they don’t have an aggressive winter. Boston went 24-36 this year, finishing last in the American League East for the first time since 2015. The Red Sox’s 41.7 winning percentage was their worst since the 1930s.

The Red Sox were one of three teams to change managers this winter. The Chicago White Sox hired Tony La Russa after dismissing Manager of the Year finalist Rick Renteria; the Detroit Tigers, meanwhile, replaced the retiring Ron Gardenhire with A.J. Hinch. Like Cora, Hinch had been part of the Astros sign-stealing controversy. 

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