Tomase: How does Bloom view Cora? We're about to find out originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
At the heart of the Red Sox managerial search are two opposing sentiments that can be argued with equal plausibility.
1. What is Alex Cora still doing here?
2. Why haven't the Red Sox hired him yet?
If you're in camp No. 1, the argument against Cora is simple -- Chaim Bloom doesn't want him.
The new chief baseball officer deserves his own hire, and Cora made his life miserable when he threw a managerial search on top of trading a franchise player last winter. Bloom's public statements about Cora have been cool at best, suggesting the former skipper needed to undertake some serious soul searching and image rehabilitation following his central role in Houston's cheating scandal. If Bloom wants to start fresh, why interview Cora at all?
If you're in camp No. 2, the argument is more straightforward.
You already know Cora is everything the organization wants in a manager. With all due respect to reported finalists James Rowson, Sam Fuld, Don Kelly, and Carlos Mendoza, they're unknowns. You hope they can do the job, but you don't know. Cora is a proven commodity who is respected by his players, beloved by ownership, and popular among fans. And oh yeah, he's already got a World Series on his résumé. If you're willing to interview him, you should be willing to rehire him. So let's end this charade and give him his office back.
I've belonged to the first camp since this exercise started, and I'm clinging to my take like an overturned Boston Whaler in the shipping lanes, even in the face of circumstantial evidence suggesting otherwise like the Red Sox retaining virtually his entire coaching staff and then contacting him multiple times during this search. The fact that they still aren't ready to pull the trigger leads me to believe that Bloom wants to pivot in a different direction.
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Perhaps he's encountering resistance from ownership, which championed Cora during his two seasons here. This would run counter to CEO Sam Kennedy's proclamation that the hire will 100 percent be Bloom's, but ownership meddling in the managerial search wouldn't be a first (see Valentine, Robert John, for reference).
It's strange that the front office felt the need to interview Cora at all -- reportedly in his native Puerto Rico, per MassLive -- given his familiarity with the organization. It's not as if he's a mystery to Bloom, even, since they worked together for two months until Cora's surprise departure in January, which was described as a mutual parting in much the same way that captured pirates once agreed it would be in everyone's mutual interests to take their chances bobbing blindfolded in the Caribbean.
While the team's processes under Bloom can start to feel less exhaustive and more exhausting -- it took four months to trade former MVP Mookie Betts last winter, for instance -- the longer this drags without Cora being offered the job, the greater the likelihood that the team hires someone else.
After all, there'd be something wildly anticlimactic about conducting this comprehensive search, only to end up where you started.