In two stints as manager of the Red Sox dating back to November 2017, Alex Cora has worked under two heads of baseball operations in Dave Dombrowski, who first hired him, and Chaim Bloom, who re-hired him.
With nearly three decades separating them in terms of age, it’s safe to say that Dombrowski — 64, formerly Boston’s president of baseball operations — and Bloom — 37, currently Boston’s chief baseball officer — operate using different approaches when it comes to building up a major-league roster.
Cora, having been in the game for quite a while himself in a variety of roles, has seen these differences in style between Dombrowski and Bloom up close and personal.
He said as much when speaking with NESN’s Tom Caron and Jerry Remy on the most recent installment of The TC & Jerry Podcast.
“I saw it at the end of 2019 at the winter meetings in San Diego,” Cora said. “Just talking to [Bloom] and the way he does his thing with the other teams is a lot different. I loved working with Dave. It was fun. I still remember my first meeting him at the winter meetings in Orlando (2017), and we had this board and there were certain names. There was actually two on top, it was J.D. [Martinez] and Mitch [Moreland], and we got them. It was like, ‘We’re getting these guys. We’re going to get them.’ It took a little while with J.D., but right away we got Mitch and then we got J.D.”
Moreland ultimately re-upped with Boston on a two-year, $13 million deal in December 2017, while Martinez waited until February 2018 to ink a five-year, $110 million contract with what was then his new club.
The pair of veterans went on to have All-Star seasons in 2018 in addition to playing crucial roles in the Red Sox’ historic World Series run that October.
Under Bloom, the Sox have yet to make a free-agent splash on par with what Martinez got three springs ago, though Moreland re-signed with Boston once more on a one-year pact last January.
“With Chaim, we’re in a different stage in the organization. We are,” Cora continued. “I don’t agree with the whole thing about not competing, what people think, or what they’re saying. We’re going to have a good team, a good baseball team. We’re not a bunch of superstars, but we have a good baseball team.
What he’s creating is a deeper roster, a better minor-league system,” said the Sox skipper. “He does his homework and that’s great. I’m learning a lot from him from that end. You guys know me, I can be patient but at the same time, I like action. But, I understand where we’re at. I know what he’s doing.”
In the past week alone, Bloom and Co. have made significant additions to the Red Sox’ 2021 Opening Day roster, acquiring right-handed reliever Adam Ottavino from the Yankees while signing right-hander Garrett Richards and utilityman Enrique Hernandez to one and two-year major-league contracts, respectively.
Left-hander Martin Perez also reportedly agreed to a one-year deal that includes a club option for 2022 to return to Boston earlier this month.
“If you’re a Red Sox fan or you’re a fan of Chaim Bloom, or whatever, you look from afar, and you’re like, ‘Oh, you know what, this is kind of interesting what he’s doing now,'” said Cora. “A few weeks ago, it was like, ‘Oh, whatever. They’re too slow. They’re not doing it.’ But now, it’s intriguing what we’re doing. And I guarantee you guys that the puzzle is going to be a good one. I believe that and I trust Chaim and I’m looking forward to keep on working with him for a lot of years.”
Cora, 45, signed a two-year contract to return to his post as Red Sox manager back in November. The deal also includes a two-year club option for the 2023 and 2024 seasons, per a team release.
(Picture of Alex Cora and Chaim Bloom: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)