Report: Alex Cora, Dodgers Warned Nationals About Astros Before World Series

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 11, 2020

Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora, left, and Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez, right, speak together after posing for a photo together before a baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park, Monday, July 2, 2018, in Washington. Both managers are of Puerto Rican decent. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Andrew Harnik/Associated Press

The Washington Nationals reportedly had advance warning about the Houston Astros' sign-stealing going into the 2019 World Series. 

According to Barry Svrluga and Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post, former Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora—who was the Astros' bench coach and involved in the sign-stealing in 2017—reached out to good friend and Nationals manager Dave Martinez to warn him ahead of Washington's matchup with Houston.

What's more, a number of Los Angeles Dodgers players reportedly told Nationals infielder Brian Dozier, who played in Los Angeles the previous year, about the sign-stealing.

Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer also reached out to reliever Tony Sipp, who spent part of the 2019 campaign with Washington and pitched for Houston from 2014 through 2018. A source told Svrluga and Sheinin that Sipp warned Scherzer the Nationals had to be concerned about stolen signs even when there wasn't a runner on second base.

This comes after a November report from Svrluga that revealed each Nationals pitcher had five different sets of signs they could cycle through during the 2019 Fall Classic. To keep them straight, the catchers had cards with codes for different sets of signs in their wristbands and the pitchers had cards in their hats.

Washington won the back-and-forth World Series in seven games.

Major League Baseball ultimately punished the Astros by fining them $5 million, stripping them of their first- and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021, and suspending general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch for one year. Houston fired both Luhnow and Hinch shortly after the suspensions were announced.

That Cora reached out to Martinez is the most notable development in the latest report.

The Red Sox parted ways with the manager after his role in the Astros' sign-stealing scandal was revealed. ESPN's Jeff Passan reported Cora's punishment was "coming" and "going to be harsh."

Luhnow's statement following his firing even implicated Cora, saying, in part, that "the video decoding of signs originated and was executed by lower-level employees working with the bench coach."

Cora had first-hand knowledge about what the Astros were doing and apparently used that knowledge to warn his friend when the opportunity presented itself.