An already poor offseason for the Boston Red Sox has turned worse than anyone could have imagined this week. It has been reported by multiple sources that the Red Sox and former manager Alex Cora are parting ways amidst an MLB investigation into cheating violations.
After reports from earlier in the offseason placed Alex Cora in the thick of the Houston Astros sign stealing scandal, Red Sox fans were left to wonder what the levels of his involvement were. Fast forward to late last week, and the situation became much more real for the Red Sox as it was reported that the team participated in illegal use of the video replay room during the 2018 season. At this point, we still do not know the seriousness of the investigation against the Red Sox, although when it came to Cora’s fate, it did not even matter to wait.
Regardless of what was to happen with the Red Sox investigation, Cora was already in trouble for his role with the Astros in 2017 when he was their bench coach. The MLB’s investigation against the Astros wrapped up this week and the findings were certainly stacked up against the organization as a whole, but especially against Cora. Both manager AJ Hinch and GM Jeff Lunhow were suspended for a season and subsequently were fired by the Astros owner Jim Crane.
In the aftermath of this report from Major League Baseball, Jeff Passan reported that the punishment for Alex Cora would be just as harsh as AJ Hinch, if not harsher. From the findings of the investigation, it was supposed that Alex Cora was the “ring leader” and was heavily involved in devising and executing the plan to place a camera in centerfield and relay the signs to the hitter in the box. Cora was implicated arguably the most out of any non-player and the punishment was coming down no matter what.
Ultimately, while this is a brutal move for the Red Sox to have to make, in a lot of ways their hand was forced. The Astros set the precedent already by firing their World Series winning manager and GM, and with reports that Cora’s punishment could have exceeded the one season ban, the Red Sox had to make a choice. Either you keep a manager who feasibly could be suspended for two years in the coming weeks, or you move on now and rid yourself of the questions, speculations and media circus.
Alex Cora was a beloved manager, and a great person regardless of any of these reports. Unfortunately though, when you break the rules and get caught doing so, there are repercussions. In this case, the Red Sox hand was very much so forced, and they had to act quickly after the precedent set down in Houston.
It remains to be seen what the investigation into the allegations against the Red Sox will bring to the table, and if there will be fines and draft pick loss like there was for the Astros. Ultimately though, the biggest target in the Red Sox investigations was Alex Cora, and the Red Sox have removed him from their future equation. The investigation should wrap up before Spring Training, and the team should be able to put this whole situation behind them. It is tough to see Cora go, but ultimately he pays the price for the decisions he willingly made, and the Red Sox made a decision that maybe they didn’t want to make, but that they had to make.
Photo: David J. Phillip - Associated Press