The major reaction to Alex Cora’s bizarre decision to already declare Chris Sale the Red Sox’ Opening Day starter in 2024 was confusion, and the next biggest reaction was outrage at Cora making a dumb move.
But for whatever you think of Alex Cora behind the bench, it’s pretty clear he’s not a dumb guy. So instead of jumping to the conclusion that you’re definitely smarter than him, what about considering why he might make such a ridiculous claim when anyone in Boston could have predicted the reponse it got?
My guess: Cora is trying to put some pressure on ownership ahead of the offeason.
Cora can only work with the hand he’s dealt, and I’m sure he’s been just as frustrated as Red Sox fans with that recently.
To me, this seems more like a threat than an announcement.
Reading between the lines, it’s not hard to see this as “with the current state of the roster, I’m going to be forced to start Chris Sale on Opening Day.” Cora doesn’t want to start Sale. He wants management to go out and spend some money to bring in an actual ace.
The 2023 season was Sale’s first being healthy enough to pitch even 10 games since 2019, and he’s posted a 4.30 ERA. Nobody, Cora included, thinks he should actually be starting on Opening Day.
But the statement highlights how dire the Red Sox’ need for starting pitching is. If the Opening Day starter isn’t someone who’s brought in from outside the organization this offseason, the reality is that we’ll need to settle for Sale.
Cora could, of course, have just said this privately to ownership. But putting it out to the public makes sure fans know where things stand, and it was a genius move to get the fanbase on his side putting additional pressure on ownership to actually make a splash this offseason.
Sox fans are ready to contend. Sox players are ready to contend. Sox coaches are ready to contend. We just need ownership on board too, and Cora’s trying his best to get there.
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