Posted on February 11, 2020, by Bryan Zarpentine
The day before the official start of spring training, the Boston Red Sox finally got around to filling their managerial vacancy. Tuesday afternoon, the club officially announced that Ron Roenicke has been named the team’s interim manager. The Red Sox will presumably reassess their options next offseason, leaving Roenicke in charge for the entire 2020 season. He replaces Alex Cora, under whom he served as the team’s bench coach for the last two seasons.
Cora and the Red Sox parted ways last month after he was named in MLB’s report on the sign-stealing scandal centered around the Houston Astros. Cora was serving as Houston’s bench coach in 2017 and was named as one of the central figures in the scheme. A separate investigation into Boston’s 2018 season when the Red Sox won the World Series is expected to be released within the next week. MLB is likely to hand down a punishment to Cora at that time. However, the Red Sox weren’t willing to wait until then, deciding it was best for both the team and Cora to part ways.
In any event, the Red Sox were left with a managerial vacancy to fill a month before the start of spring training. The club was trying to wait until MLB released its investigation. But with spring training starting, they couldn’t wait any longer. Regardless, Roenicke appears to be a wise selection. He has managerial experience and is familiar with most of the rest from serving as bench coach the last two seasons, giving the Red Sox some semblance of continuity in a difficult situation.
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“Ron’s extensive coaching and managerial experience, in addition to his familiarity with our players and staff, make him an ideal fit as we prepare for the 2020 season,” Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said in a statement. “He has the respect of everyone in the clubhouse, and the way he carries himself and communicates will be a positive influence on our entire organization. We are confident that Ron will hit the ground running, and we’re excited to work closely with him as he leads our group forward.”
As a player, Roenicke played parts of eight seasons in the majors for six different teams. Soon after his playing days were over, he went into coaching. Starting in 1994, he started managing in the minors with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He returned on the Angels coaching staff in 2000 and remained with the Halos until being hired as manager of the Milwaukee Brewers in 2011. He immediately led the Brewers to the NLCS in 2011 but struggled to maintain that success, ultimately getting fired a month into the 2015 season.
The Red Sox considered and interviewed several other candidates before deciding on Roenicke. Aside from being familiar with most of Boston’s players, he was the only candidate the team interviewed with previous experience managing in the majors. Of course, he was the team’s bench coach in 2018, meaning he could be potentially named in MLB’s investigation. Assuming that’s not the case, Roenicke will have a chance to take the interim tag off his job title.
In addition to the investigation hanging over the team’s head, Roenicke is taking over a team with high hopes for 2020 after a disappointing 2019 campaign. His task is also a little more difficult with the Red Sox just trading away Mookie Betts and David Price. While Roenicke will no doubt be excited to get a second chance to be a manager in the big leagues, the job, especially with the interim label, won’t be easy by any stretch.