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Alex Cora speculation begins after Red Sox fire Ron Roenicke

Ron Roenicke will not return as manager of the Red Sox in 2021, the club announced prior to Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Braves.

A search for his replacement will begin immediately, the organization said in the announcement, and speculation is already swirling about a potential return for Alex Cora, who was fired and suspended for the 2020 season for his role in the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal.

“Throughout this difficult season, Ron’s consistency and professionalism kept the environment in our clubhouse productive and gave all of our players room to grow and develop,” chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said in a statement. “While we believe that, moving forward, we will benefit from new leadership and new energy, that does not diminish how strongly we feel about Ron. He is a man of the highest character who cares about our players and the Red Sox organization. As bench coach, he helped this team win a world championship.

“As manager, he showed poise and leadership in navigating an extremely challenging year. We are grateful for all of his contributions in our uniform.”

Roenicke replaced Cora in February after Cora and Boston split following MLB’s report on the Astros’ cheating during the 2017 season, when Cora was Houston’s bench coach. Roenicke had previously served as bench coach under Cora. Cora was later banned by MLB for one season.

Red Sox fire Ron Roenicke Alex Cora
Alex Cora, Ron RoenickeGetty Images (2)

Multiple reporters added fuel to Cora’s potential return on Twitter Sunday. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports Red Sox ownership “was among [Cora’s] biggest supporters. So do not rule out a return.”

Bloom named Roenicke interim manager the day after spring training began. He removed the interim tag in late April after MLB’s investigation of the 2018 Red Sox for illegal sign stealing found Roenicke had zero involvement.

The Red Sox are 23-36 this season and will play their final game Sunday afternoon in Atlanta.

Following Boston’s loss against to the Braves Saturday, Roenicke said he had a meeting with Bloom scheduled in a few days and that he was going to “see what happens.” He had hinted at hoping to stay in his position but that he was at peace with whatever the final decision turned out to be.

“It really hasn’t been unsettling,” Roenicke told reporters. “If I was just starting out as a young manager, I guess it would be a little bit unsettling. I’m sure it would be. But I think because of all the things that I’ve been through, I realize there’s a process, and I realize there’s timing differences the way different organizations do things.

“Do I like to know either way? Of course I’d like to know either way. But I think whatever happens, I’m going to be fine. I feel like this year, as difficult as it was, I thought (it) went well. And on my end, try to do everything I can to make things work out. It wasn’t all baseball as we all know this year. Sometimes a lot of other things came up.”

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