Boston Red Sox Rehire Alex Cora as the Team’s Manager

Alex Cora is back in Boston…

The Boston Red Sox have rehired the team’s 45-year-old Puerto Rican former manager,.

Alex Cora

Cora led the Red Sox to the 2018 World Series title but mutually agreed to part with the club amid the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal. He was suspended for one season by Major League Baseball for his role in the scandal.

Boston, which ended the 60-game shortened season with a 24-36 record, decided not to retain manager Ron Roenicke, who replaced Cora in January after serving on his coaching staff.

The Red Sox were not allowed to speak to Cora until after the World Series, which ended October 27. The lack of activity before then was a sign that they were focused on Cora.

Cora agreed to a two-year contract that has a two-year team option for 2023 and ’24, the team said.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to manage once again and return to the game I have loved my entire life,” Cora said in a statement released by the team. “This past year, I have had time to reflect and evaluate many things, and I recognize how fortunate I am to lead this team once again. Not being a part of the game of baseball, and the pain of bringing negative attention to my family and this organization was extremely difficult. I am sorry for the harm my past actions have caused and will work hard to make this organization and its fans proud. …

“Boston is where I have always wanted to be and I could not be more excited to help the Red Sox achieve our ultimate goal of winning in October.”

The team he returns to bears little resemblance to the one he last managed.

Chaim Bloom is running the baseball side now, taking over last offseason just in time to part ways with Cora. He welcomed Cora back in a team statement Friday.

“Alex Cora is an outstanding manager, and the right person to lead our club into 2021 and beyond,” Bloom said. “The way he leads, inspires, and connects with everyone around him is almost unmatched, and he has incredible baseball acumen and feel for the game. …

“Because of all that had happened, I knew that I wanted to speak with Alex once his suspension ended, but I didn’t yet know if it made sense to consider him for the job as well. Our conversations were lengthy, intense, and emotional. Alex knows that what he did was wrong, and he regrets it. … He loves the Red Sox and the game of baseball, and because of that we believe he will make good on this second chance.”

Bloom’s other big move last offseason was to trade 2018 American League MVP Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers along with David Price as part of an effort to get the Red Sox under the threshold for baseball’s competitive balance tax.

With Betts and Price gone, Chris Sale out with Tommy John surgery and Eduardo Rodriguez recovering from a COVID-19-related heart problem, the Red Sox finished in last place in the AL East.

But Cora also has hope for improvement in the 2021 season.

Sale is expected to return in the first half. J.D. Martinez, an MLB All-Star his first two years in Boston before struggling in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, is also under contract for at least one more year.

And the Red Sox have plenty of salary flexibility gained in the deal that sent Betts and Price to Los Angeles.

Cora replaced John Farrell as Boston’s manager after the team twice finished last under Farrell, despite winning the 2013 World Series with him. With Cora at the helm in 2018, the Red Sox raced to a 108-54 regular-season record and an easy win in the AL East. They led the majors with a .268 team batting average and 876 runs scored.

Boston then dominated the postseason with an 11-3 mark, posting wins over the Yankees and Astros in the AL division and championship series, respectively, before defeating the Dodgers in the World Series.

The Red Sox couldn’t sustain 2018’s success in Cora’s second season, finishing 84-78 and third in the division, 19 games behind the Yankees.

Cora, who worked as an ESPN analyst before leaving for the Astros, played 14 MLB seasons, including parts of four seasons with the Red Sox, winning the 2007 World Series with Boston. He also played for the Dodgers, Cleveland Indians, New York Mets and Texas Rangers before finishing his career with the Washington Nationals in 2011.

J.D. Martinez to Stay with the Boston Red Sox

J.D. Martinez won’t be losing his sox

The 33-year-old Cuban American professional baseball player and Boston Red Sox designated hitter has opted to keep his contract, that will pay $19,375,000 in each of the next two seasons, rather than opt out Sunday and become a free agent.

J.D. Martinez

Martinez hit a career-low .213 in the COVID-19 pandemic-shortened season with seven homers and 27 RBIs, his lowest output since 2013. His salary was cut from $23.75 million to a prorated $8,796,296. His deal also gives him the ability to opt out after the 2021 World Series.

Boston declined a $6.85 million option on left-hander Martin Perez and opted to pay a $500,000 buyout to the 29-year-old, who became a free agent.

Perez was 3-5 with a 4.50 ERA in 12 starts, striking out 46 and walking 28 in 62 innings in his first season with Boston after leaving the Minnesota Twins as a free agent. He had a $6 million salary, reduced to $2,222,222 in prorated pay.

Perez joined outfielders Jackie Bradley Jr. and Rusney Castillo and right-hander Collin McHugh as Boston players who became free agents.

J.D. Martinez Opts to Stay with the Boston Red Sox

J.D. Martinez is still seeing Red (Sox)

The 32-year-old Cuban American Major League Baseball star didn’t opt out of his contract with the Boston Red Sox.

J.D. Martinez

By staying with the Red Sox, Martinez can earn $62.5 million over the next three years: $23.75 million for 2020 and $19,375,000 for both 2021 and 2022. 

He also has the option to opt out after each of the next two seasons, as long as he doesn’t spend a lengthy period on the injured list.

“J.D. has advised me that his decision is about assuring that he plays for a competitive team and wanting to continue to play in a place where he knows that he can be highly productive,” Scott Boras, Martinez’s agent, told The Boston Globe.

Over the past three seasons, Martinez leads the league in home runs with 124 and is second in RBIs at 339, batting average at .313, slugging percentage at .619 and OPS at 1.007 over that span.

The Red Sox, who had the highest payroll in baseball last season ($243 million), are looking to get below the luxury tax threshold ($208M). It remains to be seen how this will affect newly hired chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom‘s ability to also retain Mookie Betts, the 2018 MVP who will become a free agent after next season. Betts made $27.7 million last season and is likely to get more in arbitration this season.

Martinez led the Red Sox in home runs, RBIs and hits in 2018, on the way to winning his first World Seriestitle. His numbers in 2019 fell off as he battled back spasms, but in his two years in Boston, he hit 79 homers and drove in 235 runs. He has been an All-Starboth of his years in Boston.

Though he played 38 games in the outfield this year, Martinez is primarily a designated hitter.

Martinez takes a meticulous approach to hitting, analyzing at-bats and opposing pitchers, and several Red Sox players credited him with helping them improve their approach.

Martinez broke in with the Houston Astrosin 2011 and was released by the team in 2014. Martinez decided he had to change his swing, and worked with Robert Van Scoyoc, now the Los Angeles Dodgershitting coach, and Craig Wallenbrock.

He signed a free-agent deal with the Detroit Tigers in 2014, then was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacksin July 2017. In 62 games with Arizona, Martinez hit .302 with 29 home runs and 65 RBIs. That landed him the deal with the Red Sox.

Moya Hits First Multi-Home Run Game Against the Seattle Mariners

It’s one milestone after another for Steven Moya

The 24-year-old Puerto Rican baseball player, an outfielder for the Detroit Tigers, reached one milestone this week — hitting his first home run in the club’s last road series against the Kansas City Royals.

Steven Moya

And it only took him three days before reaching another significant achievement — a multi-home run game.

With an extended stay in right field following the injury to regular outfielder J.D. Martinez, who is sidelined four to six weeks with a fractured elbow, Moya is making sure that the Tigers aren’t experiencing any drop-off at the plate.

The 6-foot-7, 260-pound prospect flashed his power at Comerica Park, going deep in both the fourth and fifth innings of the Tigers’ 5-1 win over the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday night.

Moya admitted he felt a little bit of pressure alleviated after recording his first home run at Kauffman Stadium, which bolstered his confidence in his ability to produce at the major league level.

“After the first one, it was like, ‘OK, I can hit home runs here,’” Moya said. “It feels good. I just try to repeat it over and over and try to get a good pitch to do it. That’s what I try to do.”

Following his solo shot in the fourth inning, Moya showed his range and versatility by going opposite field in the next frame, launching an 83 mph changeup to left field to give the Tigers a four-run lead.

“He’ll go to all fields. That’s not a rarity for him,” manager Brad Ausmus said.

Ausmus is even more impressed by the progress Moya has made on his discipline at the plate, which has previously been a concern for him while down in the minors.

“He’s worked very hard to be more selective in his swings, to lay off pitches outside of the zone, cut down his strikeouts. He’s done a nice job,” Ausmus said. “He had a good year two years ago, kind of a breakout year. Last year was a bit of a down year for him, and this year, he’s picked up right where he was in 2014.”

Moya’s production couldn’t come at a better time for the Tigers. They could have been left reeling in the wake of the injury to Martinez, who led the team last season with 38 home runs.

Regular reps, and the knowledge that he won’t be just shuttling back and forth from Toledo this time around, has been beneficial for Moya, but he insists he doesn’t view this as an audition to prove his value to the organization.

“I think that they already know what I can do,” Moya said. “I don’t have anything to prove. I just have to play and have fun and let God take care of the rest.”

Martinez Agrees to Two-Year $18.5 Million Deal with the Detroit Tigers

J.D. Martinez isn’t leaving Detroit anytime soon…

The 28-year-old Cuban American outfielder and the Detroit Tigers have agreed to terms on a two-year deal worth $18.5 million pending a physical, according to ESPN.com.

J.D. Martinez

The new contract, which will pay the MLB All-Star player $6.75 million in 2016 and $11.75 million in 2017, allows Martinez and the Tigers to avoid salary arbitration, which was slated to take place later this month.

When the two sides exchanged salary figures the past month, they found themselves with a significant gap to bridge, with Martinez’s camp reportedly submitting an annual average value of $8 million and the team an AAV of $6 million. The deal reached Monday evening comes in with an AAV of $9.25 million.

Martinez becomes the fourth and final arbitration-eligible player to reach a deal with Detroit this offseason. The Tigers also signed Justin WilsonJose Iglesias and Andrew Romine.

Martinez, who won the Silver Slugger Award in 2015, is coming off a sensational 2015 season in which he led the team with 38 home runs and batted .282. Martinez finished the season with 102 RBIs, 93 runs, 168 hits, 33 doubles and two triples.