The Journal Gazette
 
 
Wednesday, January 15, 2020 1:00 am

Red Sox can Cora for role in sign stealing

Ex-manager was on Astros' staff in 2017

JIMMY GOLEN | Associated Press

BOSTON – The Boston Red Sox fired manager Alex Cora on Tuesday, a day after baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred implicated him in the sport's sign-stealing scandal.

Cora was the bench coach for the Houston Astros when they illicitly stole signs and won the 2017 World Series. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred mentioned Cora 11 times in a nine-page report Monday, describing him as a key person in the planning and execution of the cheating scheme. 

The Astros fired manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow an hour after Manfred suspended them for the 2020 season for their role in the cheating scheme.

Cora met Tuesday with Boston management, less than a month before the start of spring training.

“Given the findings and the commissioner's ruling, we collectively decided that it would not be possible for Alex to effectively lead the club going forward and we mutually agreed to part ways,” the team said in a statement attributed to owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner, CEO Sam Kennedy and Cora.

Manfred said Cora was among those who “originated and executed” aspects of the cheating scheme, in which the team used a center-field camera to decode catchers' signals and banged on a trash can with a bat or massage gun near the dugout to let hitters know which pitch was coming. 

Manfred announced he was withholding punishment of Cora until completing a separate investigation of accusations the Red Sox stole signs in 2018. Indications were the penalty would be equal or greater than what Hinch and Luhnow received. 

Baseball says that investigation will continue. Cora is still likely to be suspended, and it's unclear if MLB will also punish the Red Sox franchise, pending findings in the investigation.

“We agreed today that parting ways was the best thing for the organization,” Cora said in a statement released by the Red Sox. “I do not want to be a distraction to the Red Sox as they move forward.”

A member of Boston's 2007 championship club, Cora was hired to take over a Red Sox team that won back-to-back AL East titles in 2016-17 but failed to advance in the postseason under John Farrell. 

Cora guided the team to a franchise-record 108 regular-season victories in 2018 and its fourth World Series title in 15 years. The Red Sox beat a pair of 100-win teams in the Yankees and Astros in the AL playoffs, then defeated the Dodgers in a five-game World Series to make Cora the first Puerto Rican manager to win a championship and the fifth manager to guide a team to a title in his first season.

He was rewarded by president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski with a new contract adding an extra guaranteed season in 2021, a deal that included a club option for 2022.

Cora's departure means 10 of the 30 MLB teams will start the season with a new manager. Boston's new manager will be its fifth in 10 seasons.


Sign up for our daily headlines newsletter

Top headlines are sent daily

Share this article