Discipline looms for Alex Cora after MLB punishes Astros for sign-stealing

Discipline looms for Alex Cora after MLB punishes Astros for sign-stealing
(Associated Press)

BOSTON — Major League Baseball has announced steep punishments for the Houston Astros in response to allegations that the team, “engaged in sign-stealing methods,” in the team’s 2017 season, where they went on to win the World Series.

In a 9-page statement from Commissioner Rob Manfred, the MLB suspended Astros manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for a full season beginning on January 13, 2020 and continuing through the end of the 2020 World Series.

Former Assistant GM Brandon Taubman is considered, “ineligible to perform services on behalf of any Major League Club,” through the end of the 2020 season. He will have to apply to Commissioner Manfred for reinstatement after that point.

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The team will also forfeit its first and second-round draft picks in the 2020 and 2021 drafts, and will have to pay a $5 million fine – the highest allowable fine allowed in the MLB.

Alex Cora, the current Red Sox manager and former Astros’ bench coach, was not disciplined in the report from the MLB. However, that is because Manfred has decided to withhold any potential discipline for Cora until after the league’s Department of Investigation concludes its investigation of the Red Sox.

The club was accused of other sign-stealing activities during its 2018 regular season.

“Cora was involved in developing both the banging scheme and utilizing the replay review room to decode and transmit signs,” Manfred wrote. “Cora participated in both schemes, and through his active participation, implicitly condoned the players’ conduct.”

In the report on the 2017 Astros, Manfred mentioned Cora’s role in the scheme early on. Early in the season, Cora allegedly began calling Houston’s replay room for information on the opponents’ sign sequence.

Two months into the season, Cora allegedly had a monitor installed, “immediately outside of the Astros’ dugout,” that showed the feed from the centerfield camera. That camera was allowed under MLB rules at the time, but only if it was being used for what the league called, “player-development purposes.”

The MLB claims that no “non-player-staff,” was involved in the sign-stealing scheme by Houston, except for Cora.

While no discipline has been officially announced by the MLB, baseball reporter Jeff Passan of ESPN reported that Cora’s supposed punishment, “is going to be harsh.”

Shortly after the suspensions were handed down to Hinch and Luhnow, Astros’ owner Jim Crane held a press conference where he announced that the team had fired both the manager and the GM.

Red Sox fans did not mince words on Monday, and they’re not happy about the scathing report that implicates Cora.

“I mean if it’s true and he really was the one who designed the whole thing? It seems worse than betting. I don’t know about a whole ban from the MLB all together but I can’t imagine it’s very good for him,” said Jason O’Brien.

Another fan, Wallinda Hutson, said: “It is unfortunate that this has to happen so people need to look at it, come up to a decision, and everybody play fair."

Ryan Pawlicki called the situation “kinda nuts.”

“I’m not really sure where to go with this, but I mean, it’s a sticky situation for sure,” Pawlicki said.

Some fans said firing Cora is going too far, while others said cheating, especially by the team manager, should not be tolerated.

Read the full report from the MLB here or below: