Alex Cora Fired as Red Sox Manager Amid Astros' Sign-Stealing Scandal

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 15, 2020

Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora during the first inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

The Boston Red Sox fired manager Alex Cora on Tuesday after he was involved in multiple sign-stealing controversies that dominated headlines this offseason.

The team released a statement from its top executives, as well as Cora:

Red Sox @RedSox

Statement from the Boston #RedSox and Alex Cora: https://t.co/qXsUhSobSy

Cora also released a statement, per Bleacher Report's Scott Miller:

Scott Miller @ScottMillerBbl

Alex Cora statement: https://t.co/hK4Y6SftvG

It first became clear Cora's job was in danger when Major League Baseball announced its punishment for the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal on Monday.

ESPN's Jeff Passan reported the league fined the American League West team $5 million, stripped it of its first- and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021, and suspended general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch for one year for their roles in the electronic sign stealing the team used during its championship run in 2017.

The Astros fired both Hinch and Luhnow in the aftermath of the announcement.

The details of Houston's use of electronic sign stealing largely came to light when four people who were with the team during that championship year, including pitcher Mike Fiers, told Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic the team used a camera positioned in the outfield to help it steal signs in real-time.

Although Cora was the manager of the Red Sox when the punishments were issued, there was a clear connection. He was the bench coach of the Astros in 2017, and Passan reported his punishment was "coming" and "going to be harsh."

Gabe Lacques of USA Today noted Cora was one of 68 witnesses the league interviewed during the investigation into the Astros. Lacques also shared the portion of MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred's statement that said the following:

"Cora arranged for a video room technician to install a monitor displaying the center field camera feed immediately outside of the Astros' dugout ... 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."

Luhnow even said in his statement that "the video decoding of signs originated and was executed by lower-level employees working with the bench coach":

Jared Diamond @jareddiamond

Here is Jeff Luhnow's full statement, his first response to today's news. https://t.co/9AbDFEtkbP

The Astros controversy was not the only one involving Cora.

While he found immediate success with the Red Sox and led them to 108 wins, an American League East crown and a World Series title in his first year in 2018, Rosenthal and Drellich reported that the team also used technology to help steal opponents' signs.

Boston ultimately elected to move on from the manager who was connected to two significant scandals and failed to make the playoffs during the 2019 campaign with an 84-78 record.

That 2018 Red Sox team, like the 2017 Astros, defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.