BOSTON - That didn't take long. In the wake of a massive sign-stealing cheating scandal across baseball, which saw the general manager and manager of the Houston Astros fired and suspended for a season, Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora is out, as well.

The expectation from the MLB's investigation into the scandal was that Cora would receive a severe punishment for his role in the seasons-spanning endeavor. Whether that was a multi-season suspension or a lifetime ban from baseball or some sort of wonky middle ground, it was clear that Cora's tenure with the Red Sox was done.

This was made official by the Red Sox yesterday when they announced that they were "mutually parting ways" with Cora, as shared by The Boston Globe. It is a kind way of saying that Cora has been fired because he wasn't going to be around for the team anyway! And so, after two seasons with the team, the Cora era is done.

In a statement, Cora said, "We agreed today that parting ways were the best thing for the organization. I do not want to be a distraction to the Red Sox as they move forward. My two years as a manager were the best years of my life. It was an honor to manage these teams and help bring a World Series Championship back to Boston."

It seemed like he was the perfect model of the "manager of the future." I really never thought I would be saying, "Don't let the door hit you on the way out." It is so sad how this all shook out.

But now, the question has to be asked: Who will replace Cora as the manager of the Red Sox in what is shaping up to be an extremely shaky 2020 season?

Obviously, someone could be promoted within. Ron Roenicke is a more than capable bench coach. Tim Hyers is a solid hitting coach. Dave Bush is a new pitching coach for the team. But many have been clamoring for a former Red Sox great to take the reigns. And I'm inclined to agree with them.

My top choice would be Jason Varitek, the longtime former catcher, and captain of the Sox. He is intelligent and a born leader and I think he would be perfect. However, he's often said he does not want the job and is currently serving as a special assistant to Boston's chief baseball officer, Chaim Bloom. I wonder if he can be persuaded.

Tim Wakefield is a name that has been thrown around, as well. And David Ortiz's name has cropped up. I think they are both swell ambassadors for the organization, but I think they'd need some sort of managerial experience before taking on a job like this. Granted, the season starts in two months so there might not be time to find someone like that!

One dark horse option would be the installment of Dustin Pedroia as a player-coach. If the knee doesn't end up holding up, then Pedroia might be forced to the dugout once again. And he's basically been a captain of the team since Varitek's retirement anyway. Why not make him the manager?

Hopefully, none of these potential options would resort to cheating like Cora did.

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