On the final day of the 2020 MLB regular season, the Boston Red Sox announced that they will not be bringing back manager Ron Roenicke next season. The Red Sox made the announcement ahead of their regular season finale against the Braves.
In a statement, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said the following:
Throughout this difficult season, Ron's consistency and professionalism kept the environment in our clubhouse productive and gave all of our players room to grow and develop. While we believe that, moving forward, we will benefit from new leadership and new energy, that does not diminish how strongly we feel about Ron. He is a man of the highest character who cares about our players and the Red Sox organization. As bench coach, he helped this team win a world championship. As manager, he showed poise and leadership in navigating an extremely challenging year. We are grateful for all of his contributions in our uniform.
Roenicke, 64, took over as skipper after the Red Sox parted ways with Alex Cora in the offseason. Cora's firing came in the wake of the two sign-stealing scandals where both the Red Sox and Astros were found guilty by the league after investigation. Cora was cited as one of the ringleaders behind the Houston Astros' 2017 sign-stealing scheme. Before Cora was hired as a first-year manager for the Red Sox in 2018, he was a bench coach for the 2017 Astros team. He was suspended for one year by the league for his part in Houston's scheme but did not receive additional punishment as part of MLB's investigation into the 2018 Red Sox.
Roenicke had been the Red Sox bench coach for the two seasons under Cora prior to the 2020 season.
Roenicke was not set up with a team ready to compete this season. Boston traded away its homegrown franchise star, Mookie Betts, to the Dodgers in February, along with starter David Price. The trade allowed them to get under the luxury tax threshold in 2020. That has been a stated goal this offseason by the team's front office. Betts later signed a massive 12-year contract extension worth $365 million to stay with the Dodgers.
The Red Sox were also missing starters Chris Sale, who was out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in March, and Eduardo Rodriguez, who also missed the season due to heart complications stemming from his coronavirus diagnosis.
The timing of this move will certainly lead to speculation of a potential reunion between Cora and his former club. Though this season was not the full, 162-game schedule, Cora's one-year suspension will be complete following the conclusion of the 2020 campaign. Cora in 2018 became the first rookie manager to win the World Series since Bob Brenly of the 2001 Diamondbacks. However, the non-renewal of Roenicke could also mean that Bloom, who was hired last offseason, is ready to choose his own manager.
Entering Sunday, the Red Sox (23-36) are in last place in the American League East. Just two years removed from winning the World Series, Boston owns the third-worst winning percentage (.390) in baseball, behind the Rangers and Pirates.