Grading Alex Cora’s Return Season

Image for Grading Alex Cora’s Return Season

Alex Cora has been a part of the lore of Red Sox baseball since he was first traded to the organization on July 7, 2005. Cora was never anything more than a solid utility player throughout his Red Sox career, and his largest contribution came not through his on-field play, but rather as a teammate. Alex Cora was a major proponent in 2007 of Dustin Pedroia, even during Pedroia’s early rookie struggles. Pedroia would go on to win the 2007 American League Rookie of the Year and be a major contributing factor to the 2007 Red Sox World Series Championship.

The Cheating Scandal

If you are a baseball fan and have no clue about the 2017 Astros cheating scandal, then the safe assumption is you make your home under a rock. According to the Commissioner of Baseball, Rob Manfred, “Cora was involved in developing both the banging scheme and utilizing the replay review room to decode and transmit signs. Cora participated in both schemes, and through his active participation, implicitly condoned the players’ conduct.” Cora, as well as Astros manager, A.J. Hinch was suspended for the entirety of the 2020 season.

The Red Sox played the 2020 MLB with former bench coach, Ron Roenicke, as acting manager. The 2020 Red Sox season was, well, it was one for the ages, and not in a good way, the team finished with a 24-36 record. The disaster that was the 2020 Red Sox season did however gift the Red Sox with Marcelo Mayer, the consensus number one pick.

The Return

The Boston Red Sox re-hired Alex Cora on November 6, 2020. The hiring was not met without controversy. Cora and the Red Sox had initially agreed to part ways in January 2020, after news broke of the Astros scandal. Cora and the Red Sox agreed to a two-year contract through 2022, with two additional years of club options.

The Unexpected Season Success

Alex Cora was handed the reins back in Boston for the 2021 season. Chaim Bloom, Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer, made improvements on the 2020 roster with the additions of Enrique Hernández, Hunter Renfroe, Garrett Whitlock, and Adam Ottavino during the offseason and Hansel Robles and Kyle Schwarber at the 2021 trade deadline. Perhaps the largest and most impactful move was the re-hiring of Alex Cora.

The 2021 Red Sox ballclub was viewed by “experts” as an at-best, fourth-place team. The Red Sox finished the 2021 season with 92 wins and possession of the first American League Wild Card. The Red Sox would go on to beat their arch-rival, the New York Yankees 6-2, behind a stellar performance from ace, Nate Eovaldi. The Red Sox would go on to beat the 100 win Tampa Bay Rays three games to one in the American League Division Series. The Red Sox are currently all tied up in the American League Championship Series, one game all, with the Houston Astros.

Hold up, wait a minute, did that just read that the 2021 Boston Red Sox team is playing in the American League Championship series? That cannot be correct. Yes, yes it is, the 2021 Boston Red Sox find themselves just three wins away from playing in the World Series. That is an absolutely incredible feat, given where the club was a season ago, and the fact that the organization is still in rebuilding mode.

No matter how the ALCS plays out, or even, the World Series, this 2021 season was a massive success. Fans should be proud of the players, Chaim Bloom, where the organization is from a future standpoint, and yes, of course, Alex Cora. Slice it however you would like, Alex Cora gets an A for bringing together a team that is not the most talented on paper and making them truly enjoyable to watch.

Follow me on Twitter at @fraulein89 for more of my content. Don’t forget to check out our baseball podcast, Cheap Seat Chatter! We’ll see ya there!

Come join the discussion made by the fans at the Overtime Heroics forums! A place for all sports fans!

Main image credit Embed from Getty Images

Share this article