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Dominoes Begin to Fall into Place

Cora to manage Sox in 2024; says Opening Day will be Sale Day

Boston Red Sox Spring Training Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

We’ve had a dismal season in many ways, and we know that. We went out with a whimper instead of a bang. The postseason is for other teams. My favorite player Triston Casas is out of commission, and will be for the rest of the season.

In another season, under these circumstances, we might have wondered, What are we supposed to do now? But we’ve been given the gift of being able to look ahead — and not just in a “Wait Till Next Year” kind of way – we’ve got serious issues on our minds:

· Chaim Bloom’s replacement (writing that will never get old!)

· Tea is going to spill. Kenley Jansen may have gotten it started, followed by reports that Cora “wasn’t supportive” of Bloom, but there will be plenty more to keep us company on cold winter nights.

· What will happen with Alex Verdugo?

· Are the Sox in on any big, Angels-shaped free agents/trade targets this winter?

· Alex Cora will stay as manager

· Chris Sale will start Opening Day 2024

Is it just me, or doesn’t it seem a little early to name the starting pitcher for 2024 when I don’t think any have been officially tapped for the postseason? And would Sale be the guy I’d go with? I’d probably give him through the holidays at least, to make sure he doesn’t trip on his shoelace and go down for three months.

As for Cora, my wish for him is that the next Chief Baseball Officer gives him the players he needs to field a solid, exciting, qualified team.

I find myself asking some chicken-or-egg questions about Cora though. I don’t love the way he managed the pitching staff, but was our bullpen completely spent because of how he used them – or because management didn’t make it a priority to acquire pitchers, and didn’t build the roster correctly from the beginning? (Not to mention it was stripped bare several times by various injuries.) Certainly Jansen blames Bloom. I love blaming Bloom too, but I also want to be fair.

Next, is there anything Cora can do about the ridiculous Red Sox defense? He’s a manager who loves to move players around positionally. Personally, I’m not a fan of that, and I think that’s one reason our defense was so poor. See also: roster construction. It’s true that there’s only so much he can do if he’s not provided with capable players, the depth isn’t there, or the injury bug bites. But the team also made too many easy mistakes in the field — and it cost us.

I hope Cora gives this some deep thought over the winter. Besides not asking some players to cover unfamiliar positions, what can he do to coax better defense out of our team? A healthy clubhouse bet for competition? Steak dinners for incentive? Run laps as punishment?

I don’t know, but with the stability of knowing he has the job, I hope he’ll start working on creative solutions now.

I’ll be there in Seattle for Opening Day, and there will be lots more to say between now and then.