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#pounditSunday, August 9, 2020

Alex Cora suspended for 2020 season for actions with Astros, not Red Sox

Alex Cora

Major League Baseball has completed its investigation into sign-stealing allegations against the Boston Red Sox, and the league announced on Wednesday that former Red Sox manager Alex Cora has been suspended for the 2020 season. However, that penalty only stems from Cora’s role in the Houston Astros’ cheating scandal in 2017.

MLB announced minimal penalties against the Red Sox that include the loss of a second-round draft pick and a suspension for video replay system operator J.T. Watkins. While Cora was suspended for the entire 2020 season as expected, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred noted that the discipline does not stem from any activity while the manager was in Boston.

In a summary of the findings, Manfred wrote that it was determined that Watkins used the video replay room during some regular season games in 2018 to “revise sign sequence information” that he had legally shared with players prior to games. The information was only relevant when a runner was on second base, and the investigation found that Cora, the Red Sox coaching staff and most players did not know Watkins was illegally using the replay room to update information. Here’s the relevant portion of the summary:

Another noteworthy portion of Manfred’s report stated that the commissioner would not have felt inclined to punish any Red Sox players even if the Commissioner’s Office had not given players immunity in the investigation, such as the league did with the Astros investigation.

Cora was painted as one of the masterminds behind Houston’s cheating scandal, but MLB determined he had very little — if any — involvement in what went on in Boston. Manfred had decided to wait until after the Red Sox investigation to discipline Cora in case Cora was guilty of further violations, and that turned out to not be the case. That should greatly improve his chances of landing another job when he’s reinstated following the 2020 season.

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