Alex Cora's wait to become a manager in Major League Baseball has come to an end.
Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe reported the contract includes a fourth-year team option.
Tim Britton of the Providence Journal shared comments from Cora in the release:
Tim Britton @TimBritton
Cora’a comments in an emailed statement from the club: https://t.co/qcqZ84BIcG2017-10-22 19:33:40
The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal first reported the deal Saturday.
After retiring following spring training in 2012, Cora spent four years working as an analyst for ESPN. The Astros hired him as a bench coach prior to the 2017 season.
Before working with the Astros, Cora had multiple interviews with teams over the previous few years, including the Washington Nationals, San Diego Padres and Miami Marlins after the 2015 season, per Rosenthal.
Despite being well-regarded enough to get interviews before, Cora had no significant managerial experience on his resume. The 14-year MLB veteran did manage a winter ball team in his native Puerto Rico and was Puerto Rico's general manager for the 2017 World Baseball Classic when it reached the final before losing to Team USA.
Cora did have the support of Astros players as he sought after a managerial job.
"He's a player's guy," Astros center fielder George Springer told Abbey Mastracco of NJ Advanced Media. "It's easy to forget how hard it is when you're not playing the game and he hasn't forgotten that. He's into the game, he's for informational and he's going to be good someday somewhere."
Cora also has the benefit of a 14-year MLB career to understand what players need to make it through the grind of a long season and how to handle the media questions in good and bad times.
The hiring of Cora represents a shift in philosophy for the Red Sox, whose last three managers all had previous experience in the job.
It's hard to argue with the results produced by Terry Francona and John Farrell, who combined to win three World Series titles and made the playoffs eight times from 2004-17. The less said about Bobby Valentine's one-year run in 2012, the better.
Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski has never shied away from making a move that he thinks it will improve his team. Farrell was fired after the 2017 season despite winning back-to-back American League East titles.
Cora inherits an excellent situation in Boston with young talents such as Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers to build around. The pitching rotation has an excellent one-two punch in Chris Sale and David Price, assuming the latter can stay healthy in 2018 after throwing 74.2 innings last season.
The pieces are in place for Cora to succeed as a manager right away. The media in Boston does bring added pressure to the job, but he's well aware of it after playing with the Red Sox from 2005-08.
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