The Red Sox have not really made any public news in their search for the next manager, which certainly doesn’t mean that they aren’t doing anything but rather that it’s still in the early stages and/or still behind the scenes work. Typically in a time like this, teams wait until a new manager comes in before deciding what to do with the rest of their staff. That isn’t exactly the case this time, as the Red Sox announced the bench coach Jerry Narron and bullpen coach Craig Bjornson will not be returning for the 2021 season.
Red Sox announced that the contracts of Jerry Narron (bench coach) and Craig Bjornson (bullpen coach) weren't renewed for 2021, but the rest of the coaching staff has been invited to return.— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) October 12, 2020
As Alex Speier also notes, the rest of the staff will indeed be invited back for next season, a list that includes Jason Varitek, among others.
Narron just finished his first, and now only, season this time around in Boston, serving under Ron Roenicke as bench coach. Previously he had served as the bench coach under Grady Little in Boston in 2003. Additionally, he has some managerial experience with the Reds and Rangers in the aughts. Bjornson, meanwhile, was hired by the Red Sox to be their bullpen coach before the 2018 season after serving on the coaching staff for the Astros from 2012 through 2017.
It is indeed a little odd for the Red Sox to be making this decision before hiring a manager, though the Narron decision in particular isn’t too surprising. The rest of the coaching staff has been here since 2018, including hitting coach Tim Hyers, first base coach Tom Goodwin, and third base coach Carlos Febles. Dave Bush, the team’s pitching coach, just finished his first year in that position with the team.
The speculation immediately turned to Alex Cora, as is the case with just about everything relating to coaching and the Red Sox. The speculation is that Cora is basically guaranteed the job and is quasi making these decisions. He can’t officially return to managing until after the conclusion of the World Series. There is no factual basis to any of this speculation, and it needs to be noted that Chaim Bloom and Sam Kennedy have refused to say much of anything relating to the topic of Cora returning to Boston.
That said, the logic isn’t crazy. Cora does have familiarity with all of these coaches still on staff, and that even includes Bush. While they never technically coached together, Bush had been in the organization before his promotion to pitching coach and Cora was still manager when his promotion happened. The one strange bit with respect to Cora here is that Bjornson came over with him from Houston.
I’m certainly not going to say this 100 percent means Cora is coming back. It’s possible they just like this group of coaches and they want them around for whoever they hire. This group was, after all, for the most part involved in the 2018 run to the title. That said, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think this upped my internal odds on Cora returning to the job when he’s eligible.