The Red Sox Limit Their Ceiling By Promoting Ron Roenicke

When we discussed what moves the Red Sox should make next, we omitted one major organizational hole: manager. Since the ouster of Alex Cora, Boston hadn’t filled their vacancy…until this week, when they finally announced that they had promoted bench coach Ron Roenicke to interim manager.

It’s a somewhat interesting development, as the Sox didn’t opt for a more well-known name, not did they opt for an inexperienced, fan-favorite choice (Jason Varitek, anyone?). Instead, they opted for perhaps the most vanilla option in the entire league.

Roenicke’s first season as a MLB manager was a resounding success, as he helped guide the 2011 Brewers to an NLCS appearance. Since that time, it hasn’t been as sexy.

Between the 2012 and 2014 seasons, the Brewers had a 239-247 record, which is literally the epitome of mediocrity. It wasn’t like Roenicke’s rosters lacked talent, but he also failed to elevate any of that talent on his squad. He was ultimately canned by Milwaukee after starting the 2015 season with a 7–18 record.

So what does this all mean for the Red Sox? Well, for starters, Roenicke has experience dealing with an organizational crisis, as he was manager when former MVP and franchise player Ryan Braun was suspended for violating the league’s drug policy. Considering the active MLB investigation (coupled with their trade of a franchise player), Roenicke will be tasked with doing plenty of damage control this season.

On the flip side, Roenicke has shown that he can’t really elevate any of the players on his roster. If the Red Sox want to compete in 2020, they’ll need to hope that the likes of Andrew Benintendi don’t continue to plateau. Instead, they’ll need these young non-stars to take the next step, and it’s uncertain if Roenicke can get them out of them.

If there’s any positive, it’s the “interim” tag on Roenicke’s title, and we don’t mean that as a slight to the coach. Instead, the organization clearly hasn’t committed to Roenicke as their long-term answer, and if the 63-year-old wants to keep being a manager in the majors, this could be his final chance to prove it. Perhaps he’s able to dig deep and show something he hasn’t (although that seems unlikely).

From a betting perspective, the Sox currently have an over/under of 85.5. While this isn’t necessarily a reflection of their manager, it’s worth noting that he’s exceeded that total only one during his managerial career. If the Sox had a manager with a higher ceiling, we’d be tempted to take the over. Instead, it’s an easy choice to pick the under.

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