NEW YORK — Long before they were honored for guiding teams with depleted rosters to first-place finishes, Dave Roberts and Terry Francona were forever linked.

Fans in Boston and beyond will always remember that signature stolen base.

It was Roberts’ daring swipe as a pinch runner in the bottom of the ninth inning that helped the Red Sox – managed by Francona – rally from the brink of being swept in the 2004 AL Championship Series and sped them toward ending their 86-year World Series curse.

Francona went on to win two titles with Boston, and on Tuesday he earned his second AL Manager of the Year award with Cleveland.

But what if Roberts had been thrown out, could that have altered a path that might someday land Francona in the Hall of Fame?

“The truth of it is, it probably would’ve been completely different,” Francona said on a conference call.

“There’s always a Dave Roberts-being-out from being the other way,” he said.

The 44-year-old Roberts won the NL Manager of the Year honor in his first season as a skipper, leading the Los Angeles Dodgers to the NL West crown.

Roberts and Francona each won handily.

Roberts didn’t bat in the 2004 postseason and didn’t even play in the World Series sweep over St. Louis. But to just “play a small part” in his only season in Boston was rewarding, and he still retains lessons taught by Francona.

Being unselfish and playing “for the right reasons … the game honors you,” he said.

Known for that one slide into second base, Roberts certainly had to scramble this season.

The Dodgers put 28 different players on the disabled list, more than any team in the last 30 years. An injury to ace Clayton Kershaw was among the reasons they employed a franchise record-tying 55 players, including 31 pitchers.

Among the Dodgers who managed to stay healthy: shortstop Corey Seager, chosen NL Rookie of the Year on Monday.

Roberts said he was particularly proud of “the way our guys battled adversity all year.”

Roberts made a record 606 pitching changes while going 91-71. Twice, he pulled pitchers in the late innings when they were throwing no-hitters, trying to protect their arms from overuse.

In the postseason, Roberts took a creative approach to his bullpen. He used Kershaw against Washington in the deciding Game 5 of the Division Series, then brought in closer Kenley Jansen early while taking a 2-1 lead over the Cubs in the NLCS.

ASTROS: Alex Cora was hired as bench coach.

Cora, who had a 14-year career in the majors, takes the place of Trey Hillman, who recently left to manage in South Korea.

Cora has worked as a television analyst since 2013 and is the general manager for the Criollos de Caguas in the Puerto Rican winter league. He also is the general manager for Puerto Rico’s team in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

METS: The Mets replaced third-base coach Tim Teufel and will reassign him to a different position in the organization.

Teufel, a member of the Mets’ 1986 World Series championship team, had been the third base coach since 2012.

The Mets are replacing Teufel with Glenn Sherlock, who just ended a 21-season stint with Arizona.