SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — It would be inaccurate to suggest that Craig Breslow and Alex Cora are strangers to one another.

In 2006, Breslow arrived in Boston, and he and Cora spent several months as Red Sox teammates, though obviously, as a lefty reliever and an infielder, they didn’t interact a great deal.

Now, some 17 years later, they’ve been thrust together in altogether new roles: Cora as the team’s manager, and Breslow as his – and everyone else’s – boss as the team’s chief baseball officer.

In the two and a half weeks since he was hired, the two are getting to know one another better, and inside of a different dynamic. Cora didn’t attend the GM meetings that officially concluded Thursday, but he remained in frequent contact with Breslow via phone or text.

“I talk to Alex basically every day,” said Breslow, “sometimes multiple times per day. Often, it’s just bouncing ideas off each other, a quick check-in. I want to get his thoughts on something, he wants to get my thoughts on something. I think these first couple of weeks have been really productive. What we need to do is establish kind of a trust in each other, but also an expectation in each other that we’re kind both vying for the same outcomes and that we’re going to challenge each other and question each other.

“And we should, and that’s going to make us better.”


Breslow readily conceded that the dynamic between the two is far different than when they were teammates.

“It is different,” acknowledged Breslow. “But it almost does seem as though there’s kind of the implicit or unspoken connection, like it’s both like, ‘Hey, we’ve both worn the uniform here,’ and that kind of puts us on solid footing out of the gate. I think what Alex is is a great connector of people. He’s super competitive and he gets the best of guys. Those are really, really difficult skills to teach. The fact that he just has those and that he also sees the game really well is a great place to start.

“He consistently gets the most out of our guys. I’m looking to support him, I’m looking to influence certain methods or certain overarching philosophies. But when it comes to in-game decisions, we can provide information to Alex, but it’s up to Alex to execute based on what he’s seeing, his experiences, what the information tells him. I’m really confident that we’re going to see things very similarly, and the additional interactions that we’ve had so far have been nothing but positive.”

Less certain, for now, is Cora’s long-term future with the team. Ownership made it clear to anyone who was interviewing for the position of chief baseball officer that Cora would be the manager for 2024, the final year of a multi-year contract.

Breslow reiterated that at his introductory press conference, saying that Cora would “unequivocally” be the manager next season. But what about beyond that? Could Breslow grow comfortable enough with Cora this winter and next spring to reward Cora with a multi-year extension?

“Those conversations take place between Alex and me when the time is right,” said Breslow. “He is preparing for the 2024 season; I’m preparing for a 2024 season. Beyond that, I don’t think it makes a ton of sense to speak to.”


Perhaps, but the notion of Cora entering 2024 as something of a lame-duck, with no security beyond the end of next year, could prove problematic. Could a slow start put Cora’s job in jeopardy? Would Breslow prefer to work with someone with whom he’s more familiar?

Those questions are bound to surface. But for now, Breslow and Cora continue their “honeymoon period,” getting acclimated with one another, and Cora undoubtedly hopes, forging a more workable partnership than the one he had with Breslow’s predecessor, Chaim Bloom.

IS BOSTON interested in re-signing Justin Turner?

Turner declined the $13.4 million player option in his Red Sox contract to become a free agent but still has interest in returning. It was a no-brainer to decline it because he will receive a $6.7 million buyout, meaning the DH/first baseman is leaving only $6.7 million on the table. He’ll make more than that in free agency.

“What I feel really confident speaking to is the impact that he had on the team despite the fact that I wasn’t there,” Breslow said. “It was really clear just based on the way people spoke about him just how much he meant to the clubhouse, how much he meant to the organization, how much he meant to the city. Obviously we have to figure out if he fits, how he fits. But from my perspective, I just have nothing but effusive praise for Justin as a person.”

Turner will turn 39 on Nov. 23. The two-time All-Star enjoyed a productive season with Boston, batting .276 with a .345 on-base percentage, .455 slugging percentage, .800 OPS, 23 homers, 31 doubles, 86 runs, 96 RBI, 51 walks and 110 strikeouts in 146 games (626 plate appearances). He started 98 games at DH, 35 games at first base, seven games at third base and four games at second base.


BRESLOW STRESSED starting pitching is one of Boston’s top needs this offseason. He hasn’t set an exact number of starting pitchers he wants to acquire via trades and free agency.

The number of pitchers he acquires potentially could depend on whether the Red Sox view Tanner Houck and Garrett Whitlock as starters or relievers moving forward. Ultimately, Breslow must decide which role suits them best.

As of right now, the plan is to build up Whitlock and Houck as starting pitchers this offseason. That could change depending on pitcher acquisitions.

“I’m thinking giving them every chance to get built out as starting pitchers makes a ton of sense,” Breslow said at the GM Meetings.

Houck has a 4.17 ERA in 41 career starts (198 1/3 innings) and a 2.68 ERA in 33 relief outings (53 2/3 innings). Whitlock owns a 4.76 ERA in 19 starts (90 2/3 innings) but has a 2.65 ERA in 80 relief outings (132 2/3 innings).

“We need to make a decision as early as possible, because I think it informs the way you prepare and train through the offseason,” Breslow said. “There’s a ton of value in starting pitching. I think we will build guys out as starting pitchers and give them every chance to claim a rotation spot.”

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