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Saturday, January 18, 2020

Alex Cora could be suspended ‘far longer’ than AJ Hinch in sign-stealing scandal

Alex Cora

Major League Baseball on Monday dropped the hammer on the Houston Astros and some of those involved in their sign-stealing scheme, and the most severe punishment could still be forthcoming.

MLB has announced that both Astros manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow have been suspended for the entire 2020 season, and the organization has been stripped of multiple draft picks and fined $5 million. Hinch and Luhnow were then promptly fired.

All of that is bad news for Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who was heavily implicated by the league in the report about the Astros and now must wait for MLB to conclude its investigation into his current team.

Cora was a bench coach for the Astros during their World Series season in 2017, and MLB’s report paints him as one of the masterminds of the team’s sign-stealing operation. The report states that Cora began to call the Astros’ video replay room early in the season to obtain information on signals opponents were using, and he was later instrumental in streamlining the process.

Approximately two months into the season, Cora and a group of players that included now-New York Mets manager Carlos Beltran began discussing ways to improve their system of stealing signs and relaying information to hitters. According to MLB’s report, it was Cora who arranged for a video room technician to install a monitor immediately outside the Astros’ dugout to display a feed from a center field camera that was focused on the opposing team’s catcher. The scheme was described by witnesses as “player-driven” with the exception of Cora.

One of the most troubling signs for Cora is that Hinch was suspended for an entire season even after MLB said he was opposed to the video monitor system. While Hinch admitted he did not try to stop the scheme, the findings state that he physically damaged the video monitor on two separate occasions to show his dissatisfaction. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that Cora’s suspension could be “far longer” than Hinch’s.

MLB has now turned its attention toward investigating the Red Sox after a report claimed they illegally used their video replay room to assist with stealing signs during their championship season in 2018. The allegations sound similar to the ones the Astros faced, and Cora is at the center of both investigations. With Hinch having been suspended and fired, Cora is almost certainly facing a similar fate.



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