Alex Cora-- what do we have here? Perhaps the best manager in baseball.

Stanley Steamer

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Pardon the hyperbole. I just wanted to comment on tonight's game. When I came home from work, the Sox were up 11-0 in the third, couldn't possibly be better. In the 4th, Pivetta walked Guerrero and gave up a soft hit to Springer, then got two outs, giving up two runs in the process. Then follows HR, single, single, walk, single, and suddenly Vlad is at the plate again with the bases loaded, at 12-4. I panicked, and felt he should be pulled. He gave up a deep fly out. Then, top of the 5th, Springer comes inches away from homering on the first pitch. I've seen enough. Not Cora.
He manages to coax 6.2 innings out of a mediocre Pivetta, thereby saving the bulk of his bullpen, while instilling confidence in his SP, who was clearly on shaky ground. Now, I realize, I am not cut out for Major League Baseball management. Still, I think this is a small example of what makes Cora so good at his job. He promotes confidence, which in turn fosters excellence, or at least capability from his players. The whole is greater than the sum of it's parts.
I would happily have posted this observation in an Alex Cora thread, but I did not find one, so here you are. What say you about Alex Cora?
 

BornToRun

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I’ve always been a big fan of Cora and was very supportive of bringing him back. His patience with players has shown some serious dividends by riding out the rough patches, with Otto and Kike coming to mind off the top of my head.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I'm not sure. I definitely don't think he's a bad manager and I'll take him over Aaron F'in Boone 10/10. There has been a few "getaway" games that I feel he gave up on with lineups (I don't think you ever, ever rest JDM, X and/or Devers on the same day with the weakness at the bottom of the order) and bringing in Andriese when the game was still tight and still early (and the other BP arms hadn't pitched prior night or two). But I will say that ALL managers do that stuff and I get that it's a marathon and not a sprint, yadayadayada....
Best in the game though? I don't know how to define that. If it's based of expected W/L record then whoever the hell is managing Seattle (in a very tough division IMO) and of course, Francona should also be mentioned.
 

uk_sox_fan

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I don't get caught up in who's best - just who's doing a good-to-great job. And he certainly checks the box. Most important thing for a MLB manager is to win the players' confidence and respect whilst not sacrificing clubhouse discipline. He's got that down. And he makes rational decisions on the field and takes responsibility for his actions. Can't ask for much more than that.

But I guess from your example you could say there's no one you'd want more managing a game in which you're defending a 12-run lead!
 

Sin Duda

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And the Marathon vs. Sprint aspect is vital. We as fans want to win every game like it's football. But Cora knows bringing in Andriese in a close game in July gives him (Cora) a data point on how Andriese performs in that situation. Cora needs several data points on every player, and since no player is perfect, this means that games will be lost. But Cora uses these data to properly manage his resources during the crunch games or playoffs. I believe that is why he sometimes seems cavalier (from the fans' perspective) about winning a specific game.
 

JohnnyTheBone

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I thought the lineup changes from yesterday paid big dividends, especially in the 8-run first. Moving Duran into the 2-spot in the order started things with a bang, the rookie blasting a 2-run shot that allowed the Sox to jump out to a rare early lead. JD Martinez celebrated his shift down to the 5-hole by smashing one off the wall for an RBI double. Alex Verdugo, dropped from the 2-spot, worked a tough walk and later scored on the Renfroe salami. Boom, eight instant runs from the reconstituted lineup. The Sox needed a laugher, and they had one barely 10 minutes into the game. Great work from The Genius.
 

Heating up in the bullpen

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I’m very happy with Cora. As Uk said above, I’m not interested in who’s best, just if who the Red Sox have is doing well. Cora brought us the greatest Red Sox season of our lifetimes in 2018. I forgive him 2019 because I realize 2018 took a lot out of the team. I was rooting for CB to rehire him for this year, and I’m ecstatic that the Sox are still in first more than halfway through the season after the pain of last year.
I don’t want to win them all, but I would like to see more 2/3 from series against weaker competition, like the three most recent series. I was positive they would have come back in the 3-1 game against the Yankees if given the chance to play. Maybe that’s the best sign — that I expected a comeback. That felt like a game this Cora team would find a way to win.
 

shanks

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pretty directly after arroyo left the game from his injury playing 1st, cora did a scheduled dugout interview on air. he kinda fumbled with the “how’s arroyo?” question then said something like, “sry, i’m not feeling good about myself for putting him in that position. but he looked good in practice and he wanted to be out there”

i was kinda surprised at his bluntness and how quickly he felt personally responsible. that’s impressive. and someone i can get behind.
 

JCizzle

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At a basic level, I think it's important that he's open to input from analytics and appears to be well liked by the players. Being a bilingual former player probably helps with the latter of those factors.
 

Sin Duda

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pretty directly after arroyo left the game from his injury playing 1st, cora did a scheduled dugout interview on air. he kinda fumbled with the “how’s arroyo?” question then said something like, “sry, i’m not feeling good about myself for putting him in that position. but he looked good in practice and he wanted to be out there”

I was kinda surprised at his bluntness and how quickly he felt personally responsible. that’s impressive. and someone i can get behind.
I agree. As someone who formerly manned the 1B bag, it looked to me like Arroyo was trying to do what a "real" first baseman would do. But his complete lack of experience caused him to lack discernment of when to stretch like that (given that the runner had already reached). If there is a list of all the boxes to check to say Arroyo was ready, I'm not sure stretch to the point of a Simon Biles-like split was on the list.
 

cornwalls@6

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With so much of strategy and lineup construction being dictated by analytics these days( though he obviously has the authority to tweak lineups as needed) the modern managers job comes down largely to how well the players respond to him, and managing pitching staff/changes. Cora comes up aces in the former. His teams have, by and large, played hard, been professional, but also have a healthy looseness and sense of fun about them. I think that manifests itself in their ability to come from behind in so many games, for one example. In terms of the pitching staff, as with all managers you can definitely find decisions here and there to criticize, but on balance I think he maximizes the value of what he's been given by the front office fairly well. And the ascension of Ottavino, and whatever role he played in that, speaks well of his instincts there. Ultimately, I don't know if he's the best manager in baseball. I do know there's really nobody else I would rather have managing this ball club at the moment.
 
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cantor44

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Cora manages the pitching staff really well (best of any Sox manager in my lifetime and I go back to '75). His willingness to use the entire roster is important, to keep guys healthy, to gather data points as Sin Duda mentions above, and to create a great dynamic - with every player feeling they contribute. I sometimes quibble with his in game decisions, but I suspect I (we) would here and there with any manager. And I do, however, quibble less than with most managers. And he is clearly a great clubhouse manager. The players love him. For this team, in particular, the whole seems greater than the sum of its parts, and while we can't quantify how he contributes to win/loss, it seems pretty evident he gets "the best" out of his guys.

He is, indeed, an excellent manager, and as I fan I'm grateful for him.
 
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jacklamabe65

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I will never get into the best argument on anything because it's so twenty-first-century absurd, but as someone whose been following the franchise since 1963, there's no one I'd rather have managing my team than AC.
 

Rovin Romine

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What say you about Alex Cora?
Overall, I'm not a fan, but not rabidly anti-Cora. I'd give him a B+ to A in on the field decisions, a D+ to a C+ in roster management (which he only partially owns) and a C+/B- in ML roster usage. Overall B+.

Pros: low (but not genius) on the head-scratching in-game decisions scale, can stay out of the way of a good team (2018), players seem to trust him/low clubhouse drama, bilingual, does not cause press drama.

Cons: proven cheater of low moral character, press glad-hander, weasel, poor talent evaluator (be that by picking poor coaches, running players like Santana/Franchy/Dalbec/Marwin out there for far too long and often, or not using Whitlock early in the season), poor motivator/organizer (2019.)

Unknown but falsely attributed: general geniusosity. At the end of they day people will totemize player performance with managerial press-conferencing, figure-head, and think magically. But just remember his magical genius powers gave the Astros (and the sport) an historic black eye, and he plowed an epic team into the ground in 2019, wasting Mookie's last year here. Such was the impact of his organization and planning. Which is not to say he's a moron - he's done well on the field in 2018 and 2021. But he's hardly the paragon of smart choices and approaches.

In the thread itself we get stuff like this:
He manages to coax 6.2 innings out of a mediocre Pivetta, thereby saving the bulk of his bullpen, while instilling confidence in his SP, who was clearly on shaky ground.
Seems to be just a steaming pile. What exactly did Cora do to "coax" Pivetta along? How did this "instill confidence" in Pivetta? Wouldn't any other manager have tried to ride his starter as deep as humanly possible with a 10 run lead to spare the bullpen?

So, this is almost blunt straight-forward shouldering responsibility:
said something like, “sry, i’m not feeling good about myself for putting him in that position.
But this:
“sry, i’m not feeling good about myself for putting him in that position. but he looked good in practice and he wanted to be out there
is weaselly deflection with just the right touch of player blaming.

I really like Cora. But this thread is going to take a dark turn when @Rovin Romine and @Bob Montgomerys Helmet Hat wake up.
Oh, I like letting off steam in game threads. And I'll generally push back against hagiographies. It was one of the few things that distinguished the intelligent Red Sox Fan from Yankee Mouthbreathers. (Remember such golden days?)

I think the above assessment is a fair one. I see no valid reason to consider replacing him as manager, but let's not pretend he's the second coming of Captain Calm Eyes.
 
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YTF

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Pardon the hyperbole. I just wanted to comment on tonight's game. When I came home from work, the Sox were up 11-0 in the third, couldn't possibly be better. In the 4th, Pivetta walked Guerrero and gave up a soft hit to Springer, then got two outs, giving up two runs in the process. Then follows HR, single, single, walk, single, and suddenly Vlad is at the plate again with the bases loaded, at 12-4. I panicked, and felt he should be pulled. He gave up a deep fly out. Then, top of the 5th, Springer comes inches away from homering on the first pitch. I've seen enough. Not Cora.
He manages to coax 6.2 innings out of a mediocre Pivetta, thereby saving the bulk of his bullpen, while instilling confidence in his SP, who was clearly on shaky ground. Now, I realize, I am not cut out for Major League Baseball management. Still, I think this is a small example of what makes Cora so good at his job. He promotes confidence, which in turn fosters excellence, or at least capability from his players. The whole is greater than the sum of it's parts.
I would happily have posted this observation in an Alex Cora thread, but I did not find one, so here you are. What say you about Alex Cora?
I think Cora's a fine enough manager and I'm happy to have him, but as far as how he managed his pitcher last night being some sort of brilliance (my word, not yours) let's remember by the point in the game where Pivetta began shitting himself, the Jays had already brought in 3 relievers from what is generally regarded as a lousy BP and the Sox offense, swinging the bats the way that they were, were likely to see at least two or three more. Pivetta still had and 8 run lead (yes I was a bit nervous as well), but remember the pace at which that all happened. IIRC there was barely time to get someone up and throwing, let alone make the change. Also considering Toronto is throwing a bullpen game today, there was probably no desire to burn out our pen last night. There is a long stretch of games coming up, exercise a bit of control.
 

StupendousMan

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He appears to work well with the players, but he fails the "offspring test." As in, "would you hold up his behavior as an example for your offspring?"
 

snowmanny

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I was pretty confident they would re-hire him and pleased when they did. He utilizes his roster well, players seem to like playing for him and accept their roles. He is aggressive enough with runners and so forth to put pressure on the other team (and be entertaining) without being reckless. I am fairly sure he is not going to make incredibly stupid decisions in key moments, which by itself puts him in the upper echelon of Red Sox managers in my lifetime. He's probably already third after Francona and Dick Williams. I suppose he won't win manager of the year due to the Melky Cabrera exception that you can be denied something that is obviously yours if you are found guilty of cheating.
 

geoduck no quahog

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Don't get too excited about yesterday's game and lineup management. The Red Sox were two events away from going into the 5th tied 8-8.

If Renfroe's GS was a fly out, the score in the bottom of the 4th is 8-0'ish. If Vlad hits a homerun in the bottom of the 4th - the game is tied. The Red Sox scored one more run after that inning against a shitty bulllpen.
 

Mystic Merlin

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Don't get too excited about yesterday's game and lineup management. The Red Sox were two events away from going into the 5th tied 8-8.

If Renfroe's GS was a fly out, the score in the bottom of the 4th is 8-0'ish. If Vlad hits a homerun in the bottom of the 4th - the game is tied. The Red Sox scored one more run after that inning.
Seems pretty easy to go through lots of games and isolate swing plays, especially in an era where HRs comprise such a high proportion of run scoring plays. I don’t follow.
 

joe dokes

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I think Cora's a fine enough manager and I'm happy to have him, but as far as how he managed his pitcher last night being some sort of brilliance (my word, not yours) let's remember by the point in the game where Pivetta began shitting himself, the Jays had already brought in 3 relievers from what is generally regarded as a lousy BP and the Sox offense, swinging the bats the way that they were, were likely to see at least two or three more. Pivetta still had and 8 run lead (yes I was a bit nervous as well), but remember the pace at which that all happened. IIRC there was barely time to get someone up and throwing, let alone make the change. Also considering Toronto is throwing a bullpen game today, there was probably no desire to burn out our pen last night. There is a long stretch of games coming up, exercise a bit of control.
Sure, it was hardly brilliant. But patience -- both in game and long haul -- is a skill. Sometimes it doesn't work out, but if a manager had none or significantly less, he'd never fail because he'd never try. If a manager always pulls the starter at the first sign of any trouble, he will go through the whole season without ever being credibly accused of leaving a guy in too long.
 

drbretto

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But just remember his magical genius powers gave the Astros (and the sport) an historic black eye
I pretty much stopped watching after this. But didn't it come out that he was far from the mastermind here? He's guilty because he's complicit, of course. But I don't think he was the driver behind it. And if he was, I don't think he'd have been hired back.
 

8slim

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I've been following the Sox closely since 1983, and there have only been two managers I thought were really good. Cora is one of them.
 

Rovin Romine

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Don't get too excited about yesterday's game and lineup management. The Red Sox were two events away from going into the 5th tied 8-8.

If Renfroe's GS was a fly out, the score in the bottom of the 4th is 8-0'ish. If Vlad hits a homerun in the bottom of the 4th - the game is tied. The Red Sox scored one more run after that inning against a shitty bulllpen.
While this is true, Cora didn't (obviously) tinker with the line-up in the first inning. An easy decision, but the right one.

At the end of the second, Durran was up with the bases loaded. Again, you let the rookie succeed or fail with an 11 run lead. (Not that it applies exactly here, but IMO it's an issue that Cora does not really have a bat off the bench for high leverage batting situations; he only partially bears the blame for that.)

In the 4th the Sox are up 12-0, and Pivetta gets batted around on, with some very quick pitch counts. Did Cora make a mound visit? I don't recall, but really, that's what he should have done. Along with getting someone up. With the score 12 to 4, the bases were loaded for Vlad, Jr. with two outs. There's a meaningful choice to be made there. I don't think it's indefensible to leave Pivetta in there, especially if there was a mound visit, or there was some kind of statistical/tactical angle on him pitching to Vlad. . .or if anyone was warmed and ready to come in.

Even so, 12 to 8 in the 4th isn't a hyper-dangerous risk to run, compared to getting deeper into the game with Pivetta.

If Cora was a genius, there would have been a "go deep into the game even if you give up a HR now and then" change in the Pivetta/Vaz pitch selection approach after the lead opened up, and an immediate deployment of a safety net strategy as soon as the lead was threatened (relief pitchers warming/managerial stalling). I didn't watch closely enough to know if there was.

But I can't remotely say the game was mismanaged by him into being an unacceptable risk of defeat for no good gain.
 

Skiponzo

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While this is true, Cora didn't (obviously) tinker with the line-up in the first inning. An easy decision, but the right one.

At the end of the second, Durran was up with the bases loaded. Again, you let the rookie succeed or fail with an 11 run lead. (Not that it applies exactly here, but IMO it's an issue that Cora does not really have a bat off the bench for high leverage batting situations; he only partially bears the blame for that.)

In the 4th the Sox are up 12-0, and Pivetta gets batted around on, with some very quick pitch counts. Did Cora make a mound visit? I don't recall, but really, that's what he should have done. Along with getting someone up. With the score 12 to 4, the bases were loaded for Vlad, Jr. with two outs. There's a meaningful choice to be made there. I don't think it's indefensible to leave Pivetta in there, especially if there was a mound visit, or there was some kind of statistical/tactical angle on him pitching to Vlad. . .or if anyone was warmed and ready to come in.

Even so, 12 to 8 in the 4th isn't a hyper-dangerous risk to run, compared to getting deeper into the game with Pivetta.

If Cora was a genius, there would have been a "go deep into the game even if you give up a HR now and then" change in the Pivetta/Vaz pitch selection approach after the lead opened up, and an immediate deployment of a safety net strategy as soon as the lead was threatened (relief pitchers warming/managerial stalling). I didn't watch closely enough to know if there was.

But I can't remotely say the game was mismanaged by him into being an unacceptable risk of defeat for no good gain.
Dave Bush visited the mound and if I remember correctly Pivetta started throwing more change ups......
 

Rovin Romine

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I pretty much stopped watching after this. But didn't it come out that he was far from the mastermind here? He's guilty because he's complicit, of course. But I don't think he was the driver behind it. And if he was, I don't think he'd have been hired back.
The reporting indicates he used his authority and position to drive it on instead of putting a stop to it. It was a flat-out stupid choice, and he and his team predictably got caught. Moral elements aside, a genius would have either stopped it, or done it in a less blatant way so as not to be caught.

I didn't favor his being rehired, but he appears to be toeing the line.

Dave Bush visited the mound and if I remember correctly Pivetta started throwing more change ups......
IIRC an announcer said he was practicing with a pitch, but I assumed that was just in reaction to the lead. Now I'm mildly curious - was that Bush visit a "slow it down" mound visit during the 4th?
 

pk1627

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I took a look at which teams lead in runs with two outs. The top 7 teams in MLB are in the top 7 spots. BOS is currently at 1.

The way a team approaches 2 out hitting seems to be something a manager can influence. I recall this also being a huge factor in 2018.

Cora = genius
 

cantor44

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Overall, I'm not a fan, but not rabidly anti-Cora. I'd give him a B+ to A in on the field decisions, a D+ to a C+ in roster management (which he only partially owns) and a C+/B- in ML roster usage. Overall B+.

Pros: low (but not genius) on the head-scratching in-game decisions scale, can stay out of the way of a good team (2018), players seem to trust him/low clubhouse drama, bilingual, does not cause press drama.

Cons: proven cheater of low moral character, press glad-hander, weasel, poor talent evaluator (be that by picking poor coaches, running players like Santana/Franchy/Dalbec/Marwin out there for far too long and often, or not using Whitlock early in the season), poor motivator/organizer (2019.)

Unknown but falsely attributed: general geniusosity. At the end of they day people will totemize player performance with managerial press-conferencing, figure-head, and think magically. But just remember his magical genius powers gave the Astros (and the sport) an historic black eye, and he plowed an epic team into the ground in 2019, wasting Mookie's last year here. Such was the impact of his organization and planning. Which is not to say he's a moron - he's done well on the field in 2018 and 2021. But he's hardly the paragon of smart choices and approaches.

In the thread itself we get stuff like this: Seems to be just a steaming pile. What exactly did Cora do to "coax" Pivetta along? How did this "instill confidence" in Pivetta? Wouldn't any other manager have tried to ride his starter as deep as humanly possible with a 10 run lead to spare the bullpen?

So, this is almost blunt straight-forward shouldering responsibility: But this:is weaselly deflection with just the right touch of player blaming.



Oh, I like letting off steam in game threads. And I'll generally push back against hagiographies. It was one of the few things that distinguished the intelligent Red Sox Fan from Yankee Mouthbreathers. (Remember such golden days?)

I think the above assessment is a fair one. I see no valid reason to consider replacing him as manager, but let's not pretend he's the second coming of Captain Calm Eyes.
I think Cora's insistence on batting a not-so-good hitter first has been mind-numbingly frustrating and inexplicable. Though trotting out Santana/Gonzalez etc., I put on Bloom and not Cora. The need to protect health through the season is essential, and demands use of the whole roster. I think there's wisdom in this, and it will pay dividends in the stretch run. But having a weak 24-26th player is not on Cora ...
 

YTF

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Sure, it was hardly brilliant. But patience -- both in game and long haul -- is a skill. Sometimes it doesn't work out, but if a manager had none or significantly less, he'd never fail because he'd never try. If a manager always pulls the starter at the first sign of any trouble, he will go through the whole season without ever being credibly accused of leaving a guy in too long.
Agreed 100%. Part of the long haul is the ability to look at shorter windows within that haul, exercise restraint and stay the course. That's what Cora did last night. I was merely offering that still having a sizable lead, the quickness in which The Jays scored those runs (meaning no one was warm and ready to enter the game), the status of Toronto's pen, the Sox bats exploding and being able to save some arms at the beginning of this long stretch of games made Cora's decision to stay with Pivetta easier.
 

Rovin Romine

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I think Cora's insistence on batting a not-so-good hitter first has been mind-numbingly frustrating and inexplicable. Though trotting out Santana/Gonzalez etc., I put on Bloom and not Cora. The need to protect health through the season is essential, and demands use of the whole roster. I think there's wisdom in this, and it will pay dividends in the stretch run. But having a weak 24-26th player is not on Cora ...
Cora has influence with Bloom and thus over the roster. (What if there were a toxic player that needed to be traded?) So Cora bears some measure of responsibility for roster construction.

More important, as you pointed out, is the use of the roster. Spotting opposing teams an auto-out in the first can't be in any way helpful to the Sox cause. (I mean, I wish all our opposing teams would bat a crappy #9 hitter leadoff.)

I understand the concern about displacing some hitters from their accustomed slots. So, maybe it's as simple as they had no leadoff guy, and wanted to see if any of the shrubs/retreds caught fire. But many of those playing choices were failures. Franchy, Sanatana, Dalbec. Many were failures for a good long while before something was done. . .and then that was mostly shuffling deck chairs.

Player commitment/loyalty is great, until your shrubs end up costing you games. That said, the offense has worked, mostly, thusfar. But at some point you have to put on your big-boy pants and insist the GM demote/DFA players.
 

chawson

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I think Cora's insistence on batting a not-so-good hitter first has been mind-numbingly frustrating and inexplicable. Though trotting out Santana/Gonzalez etc., I put on Bloom and not Cora. The need to protect health through the season is essential, and demands use of the whole roster. I think there's wisdom in this, and it will pay dividends in the stretch run. But having a weak 24-26th player is not on Cora ...
We may be better off looking at 2021 as two seasons: before and after the sticky stuff crackdown (officially 6/21).

I think there are more “clubhousey” reasons to have kept Kiké in the leadoff spot early on. But since pitchers stopped cheating (since 6/21) he has the 12th-highest wOBA in the American League (.394), a mark that’s been suppressed by a .219 BABIP.
 

nvalvo

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I think Cora's insistence on batting a not-so-good hitter first has been mind-numbingly frustrating and inexplicable. Though trotting out Santana/Gonzalez etc., I put on Bloom and not Cora. The need to protect health through the season is essential, and demands use of the whole roster. I think there's wisdom in this, and it will pay dividends in the stretch run. But having a weak 24-26th player is not on Cora ...
We may be better off looking at 2021 as two seasons: before and after the sticky stuff crackdown (officially 6/21).

I think there are more “clubhousey” reasons to have kept Kiké in the leadoff spot early on. But since pitchers stopped cheating (since 6/21) he has the 12th-highest wOBA in the American League (.394), a mark that’s been suppressed by a .219 BABIP.
Kiké has a higher wOBA than Verdugo, and muuuuuuuch better defensive numbers.
 

Rovin Romine

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We may be better off looking at 2021 as two seasons: before and after the sticky stuff crackdown (officially 6/21).

I think there are more “clubhousey” reasons to have kept Kiké in the leadoff spot early on. But since pitchers stopped cheating (since 6/21) he has the 12th-highest wOBA in the American League (.394), a mark that’s been suppressed by a .219 BABIP.
Here's a link to all the leadoff spot stats, by player for this year so far. I'd love to time snap it back a month to see the difference, but Hernandez's hot streak has dragged him back to an overall average-ish player (which is quite valuable with his versatility). https://www.baseball-reference.com/tools/split_stats_team.cgi?full=1&params=lineu|Batting 1st|BOS|2021|bat|AB|

But subsequent changes make for no great argument for Cora prior to the crackdown, since he still played relatively ineffective players in the first spot for almost half the year. Hernandez's OBP was .296 on 6/20. It's not like Cora had a clear candidate, but none of his picks seemed to work out. . .odd, for a genius. ;)
 

ledsox

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On the Arroyo issue, Cora did not deflect. He said he earned it /deserved to be in the line up. He did not say he wanted to be, though obviously, CA did. I think we can all agree on that and that 1st base was the obvious next move to upgrade after the Duran call up. Unfortunately, CA did not have a spotter.
 

cantor44

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Cora has influence with Bloom and thus over the roster. (What if there were a toxic player that needed to be traded?) So Cora bears some measure of responsibility for roster construction.

More important, as you pointed out, is the use of the roster. Spotting opposing teams an auto-out in the first can't be in any way helpful to the Sox cause. (I mean, I wish all our opposing teams would bat a crappy #9 hitter leadoff.)

I understand the concern about displacing some hitters from their accustomed slots. So, maybe it's as simple as they had no leadoff guy, and wanted to see if any of the shrubs/retreds caught fire. But many of those playing choices were failures. Franchy, Sanatana, Dalbec. Many were failures for a good long while before something was done. . .and then that was mostly shuffling deck chairs.

Player commitment/loyalty is great, until your shrubs end up costing you games. That said, the offense has worked, mostly, thusfar. But at some point you have to put on your big-boy pants and insist the GM demote/DFA players.
I 100% agree with you about the line up construction and indeed find acquiescence to a player needing to hit in a certain slot to be borderline absurd. This is my biggest beef with Cora this season. IMO put your best hitters up the most often, period. The only "guarantee" is the first inning will see 1-3. After that it's just a merry-go-round moving round and round. So ... this has been Cora's annoying blind spot this season. Aside from that I think he's been stellar.

In terms of doing something about Francy, Santana, Dalbec, what precisely is he supposed to do? There's no one viable (save Duran) to have taken their place ...
 

Rovin Romine

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On the Arroyo issue, Cora did not deflect. He said he earned it /deserved to be in the line up. He did not say he wanted to be, though obviously, CA did. I think we can all agree on that and that 1st base was the obvious next move to upgrade after the Duran call up. Unfortunately, CA did not have a spotter.
After CA took his the lineup card away from him, there was nothing Cora could do, right? Even with Verdugo clearly needing a day or two off?

In terms of doing something about Francy, Santana, Dalbec, what precisely is he supposed to do? There's no one viable (save Duran) to have taken their place ...
Use his baseball-Einstein brain to realize the depth and shape of their suck, perhaps in spring training. Use his great communication skills to convince the GM to get him a replacement-level player via trade or promotion. Use his masterful player interaction and empathy and wisdom to coach one of those clowns into a semblance of competence - I mean, we all breathlessly remember how he carefully mentored Devers from a pile of goo to one of the better hitters in the AL.

He's either a genius or he's not.
 

cantor44

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My reply fu
After CA took his the lineup card away from him, there was nothing Cora could do, right? Even with Verdugo clearly needing a day or two off?



Use his baseball-Einstein brain to realize the depth and shape of their suck, perhaps in spring training. Use his great communication skills to convince the GM to get him a replacement-level player via trade or promotion. Use his masterful player interaction and empathy and wisdom to coach one of those clowns into a semblance of competence - I mean, we all breathlessly remember how he carefully mentored Devers from a pile of goo to one of the better hitters in the AL.

He's either a genius or he's not.
After CA took his the lineup card away from him, there was nothing Cora could do, right? Even with Verdugo clearly needing a day or two off?



Use his baseball-Einstein brain to realize the depth and shape of their suck, perhaps in spring training. Use his great communication skills to convince the GM to get him a replacement-level player via trade or promotion. Use his masterful player interaction and empathy and wisdom to coach one of those clowns into a semblance of competence - I mean, we all breathlessly remember how he carefully mentored Devers from a pile of goo to one of the better hitters in the AL.

He's either a genius or he's not.
W
After CA took his the lineup card away from him, there was nothing Cora could do, right? Even with Verdugo clearly needing a day or two off?



Use his baseball-Einstein brain to realize the depth and shape of their suck, perhaps in spring training. Use his great communication skills to convince the GM to get him a replacement-level player via trade or promotion. Use his masterful player interaction and empathy and wisdom to coach one of those clowns into a semblance of competence - I mean, we all breathlessly remember how he carefully mentored Devers from a pile of goo to one of the better hitters in the AL.

He's either a genius or he's not.
We
After CA took his the lineup card away from him, there was nothing Cora could do, right? Even with Verdugo clearly needing a day or two off?



Use his baseball-Einstein brain to realize the depth and shape of their suck, perhaps in spring training. Use his great communication skills to convince the GM to get him a replacement-level player via trade or promotion. Use his masterful player interaction and empathy and wisdom to coach one of those clowns into a semblance of competence - I mean, we all breathlessly remember how he carefully mentored Devers from a pile of goo to one of the better hitters in the AL.

He's either a genius or he's not.
Well, I ne
After CA took his the lineup card away from him, there was nothing Cora could do, right? Even with Verdugo clearly needing a day or two off?



Use his baseball-Einstein brain to realize the depth and shape of their suck, perhaps in spring training. Use his great communication skills to convince the GM to get him a replacement-level player via trade or promotion. Use his masterful player interaction and empathy and wisdom to coach one of those clowns into a semblance of competence - I mean, we all breathlessly remember how he carefully mentored Devers from a pile of goo to one of the better hitters in the AL.

He's either a genius or he's not.
Well, I never said he was a genius. I think he's an excellent manager, but I'll save genius for maybe Belichick and Wooden (and even they made mistakes) ...Guess we gotta see all this on a continuum. I don't think anyone said he was omniscient or infallible. There are a lot of points between all-knowing genius and sucking. He's very very good. Probably best Sox manager of my fandom (going back to 1975 of active viewing, neck and neck with Francona) ...
 

PrometheusWakefield

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I'm not sure. I definitely don't think he's a bad manager and I'll take him over Aaron F'in Boone 10/10. There has been a few "getaway" games that I feel he gave up on with lineups (I don't think you ever, ever rest JDM, X and/or Devers on the same day with the weakness at the bottom of the order) and bringing in Andriese when the game was still tight and still early (and the other BP arms hadn't pitched prior night or two). But I will say that ALL managers do that stuff and I get that it's a marathon and not a sprint, yadayadayada....
Best in the game though? I don't know how to define that. If it's based of expected W/L record then whoever the hell is managing Seattle (in a very tough division IMO) and of course, Francona should also be mentioned.
The thing Cora seems to be able to do is get the absolute most out of his players, keep people healthy and create a good clubhouse environment and if he can really do that, the day to day debatable managerial decisions are almost irrelevant imo.
 

lexrageorge

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I don't believe that Cora has as much influence on the roster as some here think. Bloom and the rest of the baseball ops folks scouted and signed the players, some of them prior to Cora arriving. I am sure he is notified, and maybe Bloom asks for his opinion from time to time. But the roster ultimately falls on Bloom, not Cora.

I'd much rather have a manager patient with his players early in the season, especially the younger players. The alternative is a Bobby Valentine throwing Mark Melancon under the bus after a couple of bad relief outings, a disaster that he never recovered from; fortunately, he did bring us All Star Brock Holt(!). And it is a young roster. And sometimes the underperformance of guys like Cordero and Santana really falls on the player, not the manager. Similarly, I am glad he brought guys like Whitlock around slowly; pitchers cannot help if they are on the IL after being rushed back from surgery.

I could care less about what happened in Houston at this point. It's over, and he served his time. After having lived through Zimmer, John McNamara, Kevin Kennedy, Jimy Williams, Joe Kerrigan, and Bobby the Fifth, I will happily take Cora over the vastly overrated Joe Maddon, or just about anyone else for that matter.
 
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Agreed. Managers these days have far less autonomy than they used to have. They are largely hired now to handle their players and the press effectively, and do what the front office wants in terms of game management decisions--particularly in terms of analytics.
 

cantor44

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Agreed. Managers these days have far less autonomy than they used to have. They are largely hired now to handle their players and the press effectively, and do what the front office wants in terms of game management decisions--particularly in terms of analytics.
So - two issue I think got conflated here: a manager's influence over the roster construction and a manager's influence over in game decisions. From what I can gather it certainly seems manager's don't have much influence over the former; however, I do think most manager's DO still have influence over the latter. Obviously there must be info session/recommendations about player usage, but I suspect Bloom et al allow Cora autonomy within a game (indeed, my strong guess is that Bloom is pulling his hair out as much as I am when he sees Danny Santana leading off ...)
 

YTF

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I don't believe that Cora has as much influence on the roster as some here think. Bloom and the rest of the baseball ops folks scouted and signed the players, some of them prior to Cora arriving. I am sure he is notified, and maybe Bloom asks for his opinion from time to time. But the roster ultimately falls on Bloom, not Cora.

I'd much rather have a manager patient with his players early in the season, especially the younger players. The alternative is a Bobby Valentine throwing Mark Melancon under the bus after a couple of bad relief outings, a disaster that he never recovered from; fortunately, he did bring us All Star Brock Holt(!). And it is a young roster. And sometimes the underperformance of guys like Cordero and Santana really falls on the player, not the manager. Similarly, I am glad he brought guys like Whitlock around slowly; pitchers cannot help if they are on the IL after being rushed back from surgery.

I could care less about what happened in Houston at this point. It's over, and he served his time. After having lived through Zimmer, John McNamara, Kevin Kennedy, Jimy Williams, Joe Kerrigan, and Bobby the Fifth, I will happily take Cora over the vastly overrated Joe Maddon, or just about anyone else for that matter.
Bloom makes the calls, I'm convince of that and that's how it should be. That said I think Cora probably gets a good deal of consideration in some of the personnel matters. He and Chaim are both in sync as far as using metrics and analyzing data. If your Chaim and you have someone who is like minded in your dugout, a guy you chose to bring back after his suspension, a guy who won a championship with and seems to be respected by this young core I think you trust him enough to be a part of the process. You want and need his input because in some ways while he sees thing very much the same as you, he sees them through different eyes. I think it's a fine line to walk, but one that can be defined and have boundaries.
 

cantor44

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Bloom makes the calls, I'm convince of that and that's how it should be. That said I think Cora probably gets a good deal of consideration in some of the personnel matters. He and Chaim are both in sync as far as using metrics and analyzing data. If your Chaim and you have someone who is like minded in your dugout, a guy you chose to bring back after his suspension, a guy who won a championship with and seems to be respected by this young core I think you trust him enough to be a part of the process. You want and need his input because in some ways while he sees thing very much the same as you, he sees them through different eyes. I think it's a fine line to walk, but one that can be defined and have boundaries.
This is a more nuanced and more likely version of what the dynamic is than what I offered above. I suspect this is pretty much the deal; and that Cora is influenced by input from Bloom about player usage, but that he does not have to explicitly follow directives.
 

joe dokes

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Bloom makes the calls, I'm convince of that and that's how it should be. That said I think Cora probably gets a good deal of consideration in some of the personnel matters. He and Chaim are both in sync as far as using metrics and analyzing data. If your Chaim and you have someone who is like minded in your dugout, a guy you chose to bring back after his suspension, a guy who won a championship with and seems to be respected by this young core I think you trust him enough to be a part of the process. You want and need his input because in some ways while he sees thing very much the same as you, he sees them through different eyes. I think it's a fine line to walk, but one that can be defined and have boundaries.
It has to be this way. These are both smart & successful in basebal. I can't imagine Cora saying "I think we can do this better with 13 pitchers and an extra bench player," and Bloom saying "no." They ultimately might not agree on the personel move, because Bloom has multiple considerations. Cora might say, "Chaim, Workman's got nothing left, you can leave him on the tarmac," and Bloom might say, "I agree about his pitching, but I need to keep him in the org for a little while because [making this up, obviously] he might be useful as a throw-in to a couple of things I'm working on."
 

Rovin Romine

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I could care less about what happened in Houston at this point. It's over, and he served his time. After having lived through Zimmer, John McNamara, Kevin Kennedy, Jimy Williams, Joe Kerrigan, and Bobby the Fifth, I will happily take Cora over the vastly overrated Joe Maddon, or just about anyone else for that matter.
FWIW, I don't believe that Cora's actions of only a couple of years past should be forgotten. I don't think they should be used to impede him going forward, but they're certainly still relevant if, say, MLB gets a rumor of a Sox cheating scandal. However, if we're rating him "overall" as a coach/manager instead of a player, I don't see how one can possibly overlook that. Not for the least reason that it caused his current team embarrassment, and forced them to scramble to replace him. (Ultimately it make work out for the best, but that's not to Cora's credit.)

Apart from that, on which reasonable minds might disagree, I'd go with "Prime Tito" over Cora, and, currently "Overall Tito" over Cora.

I think he and Farrell are currently a push. But if Cora makes it through the rest of this year and into the post-season, I'd give him the edge over Farrell.