January 14, 2020

An Addition To Red Sox's To-Do List For 2020: Find A New Manager

MLB released its findings from its investigation into Houston's sign-stealing allegations during the 2017 season. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch were both suspended without pay for the 2020 season. A punishment at least as severe is coming for Red Sox manager Alex Cora, as well. Shortly after MLB's announcement, the Astros fired Luhnow and Hinch.

The investigation also determined that Red Sox manager Alex Cora - a bench coach with the 2017 Astros - "was involved in developing both the banging scheme and utilizing the reply review room to decode and transmit signs. Cora participated in both schemes and through his active participation, implicitly condoned the players' conduct."

Manfred said he would announce Cora's punishment after MLB completes its investigation of the Red Sox's alleged sign stealing in 2018.

From MLB's report:
Early in the [2017] season, Alex Cora, the Astros' bench coach, began to call the replay review room on the replay phone to obtain the sign information. On at least some occasions, the employees in the replay review room communicated the sign sequence information by text message, which was received on the smart watch of a staff member on the bench, or in other cases on a cell phone stored nearby. Approximately two months into the 2017 season, a group of players, including Carlos Beltrán, discussed that the team could improve on decoding opposing teams' signs and communicating the signs to the batter.

Cora arranged for a video room technician to install a monitor displaying the center field camera feed immediately outside of the Astros' dugout. (The center field camera was primarily used for player development purposes and was allowed under MLB rules at the time when used for that purpose.) Witnesses have provided largely consistent accounts of how the monitor was utilized. One or more players watched the live feed of the center field camera on the monitor, and after decoding the sign, a player would bang a nearby trash can with a bat to communicate the upcoming pitch type to the batter.
According to the report, Hinch opposed both of his team's illegal operations and on two occasions smashed the dugout monitor that was being used. However, he also admitted that he did not stop the practice or tell his players or Cora that he disapproved of it. If he received a one-year suspension, I would expect Cora - who helped develop the illegal schemes and was an active participant and undoubtedly played a key role in the Red Sox's sign-stealing operations the following season - to receive a much stronger suspension. It is likely his Red Sox career is over.


betterthanthealternative said...

Whiplash on my feelings about Cora.

Kara said...

It is likely that Cora's baseball career is over. Not just his Red Sox career, his career everywhere in the MLB.

FenFan said...

It's now official, just announced on MLB.com