Here’s a name Red Sox fans might want to reacquaint themselves with in time for spring training: Ron Roenicke.
The 63-year-old bench coach would be a natural replacement if manager Alex Cora is suspended or fired for his role in illegal sign-stealing involving both the Astros and Red Sox.
A baseball lifer who was a first-round pick of the Dodgers in 1977, Roenicke is the one member of Cora’s staff with big league managerial experience.
He oversaw the Brewers from 2011-15, beating out Joey Cora (Alex’s brother) and Bobby Valentine to get the job. He led the Brewers to 96 wins and the NLCS in his debut, finishing second in the Manager of the Year voting to Arizona’s Kirk Gibson.
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Though Milwaukee didn’t reach the playoffs again in his tenure, Roenicke did oversee the development of a core that included MVP Ryan Braun, Gold Glove center fielder Carlos Gomez, and All-Star catcher Jonathan Lucroy.
The soft-spoken former outfielder is considered an excellent communicator and even-keeled presence.
He managed Alex Cora in Double A in 1997, making such an impression that Cora tabbed the former Angels third base coach to join him on the bench and provide guidance when he took over the Red Sox prior to the 2018 season.
“We didn’t have a good team in that Texas League,” Cora said in 2017. “We barely had prospects, and we ran away with the first half and the second half, and then we won the whole thing. He’s a guy that is always paying attention to the game and pays attention to details. And that’s when I realized, maybe you’re not the fastest one, but you can steal a few bases. Or you don’t have power, but you can look for certain pitches and try to do damage.
“He sees the game in a different way. I saw that all the way back then, and I really liked what he did with us.”
Roenicke has expressed interest in returning to managing since joining the Red Sox, telling the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo in 2018, “I miss it.”
While there’s not yet any word on Cora’s fate, the Red Sox are undoubtedly preparing contingencies in case he’s unavailable in 2020.
Roenicke certainly belongs on that list.
“One thing a player can’t have is have you panic,” Roenicke told the Boston Herald in 2018. “If he thinks you’ve panicked or the coaches have panicked, then they lose that trust in you. If there’s principles you think are really important, the good and the bad, you need to stick with those. You can’t be friends with the players when things are good, then when they’re bad all of a sudden you’re screaming and yelling. That doesn’t work.
“They see through that in a hurry and that’s not the right way to go about it. If there are certain beliefs that you have, when they start going wrong you need to stick with those beliefs and let them know we’re all in this together. Let’s stick with what we think is going to work and we’ll come out of it.”
Getting to know Ron Roenicke, potential next man up for Red Sox at manager originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston