Boston Red Sox

Red Sox play it safe by hiring Ron Roenicke as interim manager

The Boston Red Sox have tabbed Ron Roenicke as the manager they want to lead them past the sign-stealing scandal and Mookie Betts deal

The same day that Red Sox players began checking in to Fort Myers for the start of Spring Training, they finally learned the identity of their new manager.

The Red Sox made the promotion of Ron Roenicke to “interim” manager official on Tuesday, putting an end to a tumultuous offseason for the club that saw them lose not only their World Series-winning manager but also their former MVP outfielder.

Roenicke has spent the past two seasons with the Red Sox as bench coach under manager Alex Cora, but the team he’s inheriting will look different in 2020.

Cora was let go in January after Major League Baseball released its report on the Astros sign-stealing scandal, a report that heavily implicated Cora, then Astros bench coach, as the scheme’s architect. Also gone is Mookie Betts and starting pitcher David Price, who were traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a deal that finally became official on Monday after days of delays.

Into this turmoil steps Roenicke, and the 63-year-old is the perfect candidate to deal with it. He’s been a coach at either the big league or minor league level since 1992 after an eight-year playing career. He was the manager of the Milwaukee Brewers for parts of five seasons between 2011-2015, leading the club to the NLCS in his first year. He was fired by the Brewers 25 games into the 2015 season.

Just like the Astros with their hiring of Dusty Baker to replace A.J. Hinch, the Red Sox are going with a safe choice to lead the club. Roenicke is already a familiar face in the Red Sox clubhouse, an experienced leader who has an existing relationship with the players he’s now charged with managing.

“He’s awesome. He knows the game incredibly well,” pitcher Matt Barnes told the Boston Globe on Tuesday. “I think it will be nice having a familiar face with somebody who knows the guys, who’s been there, who has the experience that he has.”

Roenicke, though, is still carrying the interim label next to his name until the league releases the report on Boston’s own sign-stealing scheme, putting the chances he manages the club beyond 2020 in doubt.

It was already going to be a season of change for the Red Sox, who spent much of the offseason trying to stay under the luxury tax threshold and got back outfielder Alex Verdugo and prospects Jeter Downs and Connor Wong in the deal with the Dodgers.

The Red Sox hope that Roenicke is the steady hand they need to deal with all this upheaval. He won’t have long to get acclimated to his new role: pitchers and catchers reported on Tuesday, with the hitters coming to Fort Myers later this week.

Next: Mookie Betts will always be the star who got away

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