Bradford: It's time to rip up Alex Cora's contract

Rob Bradford
October 30, 2018 - 11:34 am

USA Today Sports

Alex Cora deserves to make more money.

I know, it's a bit uncomfortable to read or write those words when talking about any human being who is pulling down a nice $800,000-a-year paycheck. But this is the world of professional athletics and the existence of a manager who just led the Red Sox to the World Series. There are factors to consider, some of which were surfaced by none other than the guy who should be ripping up Cora's deal, principal owner John Henry.

"He put together a clubhouse that had more unity that I had ever seen," said Henry from the Dodger Stadium field immediately after the Red Sox' World Series clincher. "It showed day to day perseverance, sense of purpose, dedication every day. He had them ready every day. On every level, he was a superior manager. He was every bit as good as our best player."

Let's run that back ...

"On every level, he was a superior manager. He was every bit as good as our best player."

Cora has two more years left on his deal, and while sources within the organization said there have been no in-season negotiations regarding a contract extension/alteration it wouldn't be a surprise if the topic is broached in the coming months. As we sit here, the guy who Red Sox ownership described as "every bit as good as our best player" is the lowest-paid manager in all of baseball.

All of this past season's first-year managers got better deals than Cora. Philadelphia's Gabe Kapler makes just $3,000 more, but more. Mickey Callaway of the Mets and the Nationals' Dave Martinez each made $850,000 in 2018. And, most notably, Aaron Boone, the guy the Yankees hired out of the broadcast booth, gets $1.15 million per season.

When it comes to managers in Major League Baseball there isn't a huge gap between salaries. This isn't the NFL, where a guy like Jon Gruden gets a 10-year, $100 million deal right out of the gate. The salaries in MLB max out at $6 million per season, with Chicago's Joe Maddon and Bruce Bochy of the Giants leading the way. Cleveland's Terry Francona is right behind at $4 million. (Note: The average salary for MLB players is just about $4 million.)

The point with Cora is that we should understand what he proved in his first season, and how that should be valued.

Tampa Bay's Kevin Cash got a five-year deal worth $1 million a year right out of the gate. He did a good job and got an extension after his third season, pushing the commitment through 2024. It's been just one season, but Cora has proven he deserves something more.

The Red Sox gave John Farrell a contract extension after his second season with a World Series title under his belt after Year 1. So this wouldn't exactly be unprecedented. But why would the Red Sox be inclined to execute such a move with Cora after just one season? He earned it.

Often times it's difficult to quantify exactly what kind of impact a manager had on a winning team, but with Cora, it wasn't all that hard. Will he always got on the spot-on button-pushing spree experienced throughout the postseason? No. There will be much worse times than anything that was witnessed in 2018. That's just how it works. But this isn't about isolated decisions. This is about coming in and getting so many important things right at very important times.

Communication. Strategy. Organization. Tone. Adjustments. The list goes on.

John Farrell wasn't a bad manager, as was evident when winning it all in 2013, along with back-to-back division titles in his final pair of seasons. He was the right guy at the right time until he wasn't. That's where Cora came in. In retrospect, the perfect guy at the perfect time.

"We had a lot of the same team from last year so we knew we were doing some things wrong last year. I think we were catching up," Henry said. "These guys caught up."

Now it's time to let Cora catch up when it comes to that contract.

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