Red Sox Off-Season Profiles: Alex Cora
Boston, MA - Now that the entire 2018 World Series championship roster has been profiled, it's time to take a look at one of the most influential members of the Boston Red Sox organization both during 2018 and going forward. After the 2017 season ended in yet another early post-season elimination, the Red Sox ownership and management groups prioritized finding a better in-game and analytics manager to replace John Farrell and a big hitter to boost Boston's power numbers.
They accomplished the latter by signing J.D. Martinez and they accomplished the former by hiring Alex Cora, a former Red Sox infielder and Houston Astros bench coach, to manage the Red Sox. And he came in and had the greatest single season in Red Sox history and arguably one of the greatest years ever for a first-year baseball manager.
Cora took the Red Sox to a 108-54 record, the best in their more-than-a-century long franchise history, and became the first Puerto Rican manager to even win the World Series. He also continued the tradition of first-year Boston managers to win the World Series after Terry Francona did it in 2004 and Farrell did it in 2013.
But Cora did it in a completely different way. In addition to being able to speak Spanish with some of his players, it seems like his managerial tactics and strategies have become the base line that all teams will now strive for going forward in baseball. Cora has become one of the best guys to study advanced metrics from the dugout and he always knows how to create the best matchup for his players. He is also great at identifying weaknesses in his players and motivating them to continue what they are successful at while abandoning what they are weak at. One of the best examples of this comes in encouraging Mookie Betts to attack the plate more as a leadoff hitter for the Sox. (As we know, Betts won MVP. And Cora should've been Manager of the Year.) Cora was also not afraid to use whatever pitcher he needed and do whatever it took to win the game at hand without worrying about the future.
And with Cora, the Red Sox don't have to worry about their future either.
(Photo credit to @ac13alex on Twitter)