The Boston Red Sox will need a new manager in 2020.
Alex Cora is out after two seasons in Boston thanks to MLB investigations into sign-stealing in both Houston and Boston.
Astros owner Jim Crane fired general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch on Monday after Major League Baseball suspended them one year each for their role in a 2017 sign-stealing operation.
Cora is expected to receive a harsher penalty from MLB, as he played a central role in Houston's operation and also is under investigation for his involvement in a 2018 sign-stealing scandal with the Boston Red Sox.
And while he'll find out his discipline from the league office in the coming days and/or weeks, his time in Boston is already over.
So, who could replace him? Here's a look at some of the internal candidates who could take over for Cora this season:
Ron Roenicke, Red Sox bench coach
Roenicke is second in command to Cora and is the most qualified candidate to take his place. The 63-year-old has 20 years of major league coaching experience and spent five years as the Milwaukee Brewers' manager, compiling a .508 winning percentage in that span.
Roenicke is entering just his third year as Boston's bench coach but has worked with four different MLB teams (the Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels included) is the only coach on staff with MLB managerial experience.
Jason Varitek, Red Sox special assistant to the general manager
A fan favorite during his 15-year tenure in Boston, the former Red Sox catcher would be the clear "people's choice" to replace Cora. He has zero managerial experience, but that didn't stop the New York Yankees from hiring Aaron Boone.
The question would be whether Varitek wants to leave his cushy gig as a general contributor in the Red Sox' front office.
Tim Hyers, Red Sox hitting coach
Hyers is entering his third season as Boston's hitting coach and has some MLB coaching experience; he came up in the Red Sox' system as an area scout from 2009 to 2012 and worked as the Los Angeles Dodgers' assistant hitting coach from 2016 to 2017 before returning to the Red Sox in 2018.
Dave Bush, Red Sox pitching coach
The Red Sox just hired Bush as their pitching coach in October after he finished his playing career, so it's unlikely they would promote him to manager. If Boston took this route, it would promote assistant pitching coach Kevin Walker to pitching coach.
Carlos Febles, Red Sox third base coach
Febles could be a dark horse candidate, considering he's been in the Red Sox' organization since 2007. He served as manager of the Single-A Salem Red Sox and Double-A Portland Sea Dogs before becoming Boston's third base coach in 2017.
Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox second baseman
Pedroia has always been a leader in Boston's clubhouse. He's also played in just nine games over the past two seasons and turns 37 in August. Like Varitek, the scrappy second baseman would be a popular choice to transition from player to a manager who would have the direct pulse of his players.
Who could replace Alex Cora as Red Sox manager in 2020? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston