By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora's coaching staff took its full shape Friday, and came with the addition of former team captain Jason Varitek in a totally new role, the team confirmed.
Working both on and off the field as a special advisor since 2012 — and at one point considered the betting favorite for Cora's job following his departure earlier this year — Varitek will now serve as the team's game planning coordinator starting next year.
The backstop on World Series winning clubs in 2004 and 2007, and spending entirety of his 15-year career with Boston, Varitek brings an additional leadership element to the Sox coaching staff. And while the role is new, it's a step that Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy hoped Varitek would make at some point.
“I think he’s going to be a great major league manager someday, if that’s what we wants in his career," Kennedy said in January. "He is part of the organization as an alum, part of the Red Sox family and part of our baseball operations staff. Hopefully, whether it’s as manager or something else, he’ll be taking on a broader role.
"That would be my hope.”
In addition to Varitek, the Sox officially added Will Venable to the staff as the team's bench coach.
The 38-year-old Venable, who had a 967-game MLB career from 2008 through 2016, served as the Cubs' first base coach in 2018 and 2019 before becoming Chicago's third base coach in 2020.
Cora also added Ramon Vazquez to his staff as a quality control coach and interpreter. (If the name rings a bell, it's because Vazquez played for the Red Sox back in 2005, and was teammates with Cora on that Sox club.)
Another change came with Kevin Walker's move from assistant pitching coach to bullpen coach. Walker has been with the Red Sox organization for the last 13 seasons, serving as Pawtucket's pitching coach in 2018 and 2019 before moving into his aforementioned assistant pitching coach role this past season.
The team also announced that pitching coach Dave Bush, hitting coach Tim Hyers, assistant hitting coach Peter Fatse, first base coach Tom Goodwin, and third base coach Carlos Febles would resume their roles on Cora's staff.
The Red Sox are coming off a 24-36 season, which placed them in the basement of the American League East, and with just three teams posting worse records during the coronavirus-shortened 2020 campaign.