Alex Cora lays out exactly how Red Sox can be even better in 2019 than last year

John Tomase
February 13, 2019 - 4:34 pm

FORT MYERS, Fla. --  The Red Sox won 108 games last year and then romped to a World Series title.

Manager Alex Cora believes they can be better. How is that, you ask? Allow him to explain.

Making his first comments of spring training as pitchers and catchers began workouts, Cora laid out clear areas of potential improvement for the defending champs.

"I do think there's a few guys that, it's not that they regressed, but they went back to old habits, so we need to make sure they understand why we want them to be certain hitters or baserunners," Cora said. "If we do that, we're going to be improved."

As for specifics, Cora laid them out thusly:

"There are certain guys that took steps forward in the second half," he said "Jackie (Bradley), that's the one I've been saying all along. I'm very excited to see what happens this season after he was very consistent in the second half. He worked on a few things in the offseason and I'm looking forward to seeing him go out there and perform and see if he is as consistent as he was in the second half.

"Still feel Xander (Bogaerts) could be better. Rafael Devers, not only defensively but offensively, to become the guy we saw in September/October. Mitch Moreland to become the force he was in the first half.

"You start looking at things, certain things that happened in the second half, some of them were just some guys struggling. Others were that we were able to slow people down and use them in a way to save bullets for October.

"I do feel offensively, I know it's hard to believe, but we can improve. We can be more dangerous from top to bottom. Baserunning, it was bad early in the season, but at the end we were elite and we have to continue that. There are certain guys I think should keep moving. Xander can steal 20. I do believe that. Stuff like that.

"Pitching wise, we did an outstanding job maximizing what we have. Not only the starters and relievers, but some guys that came up. (William) Cuevas last year, the way he pitched, it told us we have the right idea how to maximize their ability and what we believe as a group how they pitch. Bobby Poyner. There are a lot of guys that did an outstanding job and it's a testament to Dana (LeVangie), (Brian Bannister) and the whole group. Craig Bjornson was huge for us. We do believe there's a few things we can do better and if we do we're going to be in good shape."