The Boston Red Sox named Ron Roenicke interim manager Tuesday — a day before the team’s first scheduled workout for pitchers and catchers.
Boston entered spring training without a skipper. Alex Cora departed in January after MLB’s investigation into sign stealing by the Houston Astros — Cora’s previous employer — leaving new chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom to conduct an abbreviated job search.
Bloom said Tuesday that the reason the team chose to use the “interim” label was out of respect to the ongoing MLB investigation into alleged illegal sign stealing by the Red Sox in 2018.
Roenicke, who managed the Milwaukee Brewers from 2011 to 2015, takes over during a tumultuous period in Red Sox history. Besides Cora’s departure, the team is facing a public backlash over the trade of Mookie Betts and David Price and the investigation into their own sign stealing allegations from the World Series winning year.
The 63-year-old Roenicke arrived in Boston with Cora before the 2018 season, serving as bench coach.
“Ron’s extensive coaching and managerial experience, in addition to his familiarity with our players and staff, make him an ideal fit as we prepare for the 2020 season,” Bloom said in a statement. “He has the respect of everyone in the clubhouse, and the way he carries himself and communicates will be a positive influence on our entire organization. We are confident that Ron will hit the ground running, and we’re excited to work closely with him as he leads our group forward.”
Meanwhile, Boston is still waiting to hear the results of MLB’s investigation, which will coincide with the announcement of Cora’s punishment. The Associated Press reported Tuesday that no decision on the investigation will be made this week.
The interim hiring of Roenicke is the latest chapter in a guarded, low-key manager search, with little information coming from the offices at Fenway Park. Boston interviewed Oakland Athletics quality control coach Mark Kotsay (who played in Boston in 2008 and 2009), Arizona Diamondbacks bench coach Luis Urueta and Red Sox third-base coach Carlos Febles.
Even before the official announcement, Red Sox players expressed excitement to see Roenicke promoted, looking for continuity in the face of the recent trouble.
“Ron is a great candidate, and he knows our team,” J.D. Martinez said in January.
Added infielder Michael Chavis: “I love him. He’s a good dude. Really knowledgeable about baseball. He’s been around the game a long time, so it’s cool to see his analysis. He’s got a nice combination of the old school from his experience, but he’s also good at understanding how the new game is developing and how it’s changing. Having those sides in one is very interesting.”
During his tenure leading the Brewers, Roenicke compiled a 342-331 record, with his best season coming in 2011, when Milwaukee won the National League Central with a 96-66 record and made it to the NLCS before losing to the St. Louis Cardinals. After his time with the Brewers, Roenicke served as the third-base coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels from 2015 through 2017.