Alex Cora could be at risk of losing one of his top lieutenants to an American League rival this winter.
According to The New York Post’s Jon Heyman, Red Sox bench coach Will Venable has emerged as a candidate for the Royals’ opening at manager. He is joined by the likes of Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro, Dodgers first base coach Clayton McCullough, Royals third base coach Vance Wilson, Omaha Storm Chasers manager Scott Thorman, and Royals bench coach Pedro Grifol.
Quatraro is currently viewed as the favorite for the job, per Heyman. It was previously reported that Phillies third base coach Dusty Wathan was in the running as well, but he has since agreed to a multi-year contract extension to remain on Rob Thomson’s staff in Philadelphia.
Venable, who turned 40 on Saturday, is no stranger when it comes to managerial interviews. After a nine-year playing career (2008-2016) that included stints with the Padres, Rangers, and Dodgers, the former outfielder joined the Cubs’ front office as a special assistant to Theo Epstein in September 2017. He then became Chicago’s first base coach under Joe Maddon from 2018-2019 before handling third base responsibilities under David Ross in 2020.
It was at that point that Venable first started to emerge as a managerial candidate across baseball. The Princeton University product interviewed for several openings during the 2020-2021 offseason, including with the Red Sox. Though Cora ultimately reassumed his post following a year-long suspension, Venable was brought on to serve as his right-hand man.
Venable got his first taste of being a big-league manager last May, when Cora traveled home to Puerto Rico to be with his daughter, Camila, for her high school graduation. In December, the Athletics interviewed Venable — a Bay Area native — for their vacancy at manager before deciding on Mark Kotsay.
This past season, Venable was responsible for coordinating Boston’s outfield instruction and helping out with lineup construction on occasion. He filled in at manager for six games in April while Cora was out with COVID-19.
At the Red Sox’ end-of-season press conference earlier this month, Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo) that he expected every member of his coaching staff to be back next year.
Given that statement, it remains to be seen just how interested Kansas City is in Venable’s services. The Royals, under new general manager J.J. Picollo, elected to part ways with Mike Matheny three weeks ago. The White Sox are the only other team that currently has a managerial opening.
If Venable were to take either of those jobs, it would be interesting to see how Cora and the Red Sox would respond.
(Picture of Will Venable: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)