Did Alex Cora hint that Carlos Beltran was helping Yankees steal signs?
Some seemingly innocuous remarks Alex Cora made to the media last season following a sweep at the hands of the New York Yankees have been examined closely in the wake of MLB’s sign stealing scandal, and many view them as more bad news for Carlos Beltran.
Beltran, who is close friends with Cora and played for the Houston Astros when Cora was a bench coach with the team, was hired by the Yankees as a special adviser prior to last season. After the Yankees swept the Boston Red Sox in the London Series in June, Cora quipped that New York’s biggest free agent acquisition last year was Beltran and said Beltran had helped the Yankees with their attention to detail. To counter that, Cora said the Red Sox have to “clean our details.”
Here’s video of the Alex Cora soundbite we just played on @WFANmornings. This was following the Yankees’ sweep of Boston in the 2019 London Series. Check out the wink after he brings up Carlos Beltran’s name around :27 and unprovoked usage of the word “devices.” (h/t @Pacmangrig) pic.twitter.com/HgkglIoB7O
— Chris Lopresti (@CLoprestiWFAN) January 15, 2020
“It was eye-opening the last few days from top to bottom,” Cora said of the series. “And I’m not saying devices and all that stuff — it’s just stuff that the game will dictate and will scream at people, and (Beltran is) right there. Throughout the evening I was looking and I saw it, and right now they’re a lot better than us.”
Now that we know Cora and Beltran were at the center of the sign stealing scheme that was implemented in Houston during the 2017 season, there’s a belief that Cora was referring to sign stealing tactics when he made those remarks about Beltran. He stopped short of accusing Beltran of any wrongdoing, which would have been incredibly hypocritical. However, Cora seemed to be dancing around the subject for whatever reason, and it’s unclear what he meant by “devices.”
The Red Sox are being investigated for illegally using the video replay room to help steal signs during the 2018 season. The report from The Athletic that led to the investigation said the Yankees and other teams did the same dating back to 2015, though that was before MLB issued a memo emphasizing its rules on using electronics to help steal signs. The Athletic report also said the Astros believed the Yankees were using a YES Network camera in center field in 2018 to zoom in on the catcher’s signs, but MLB had reportedly approved the use of the camera as a coaching tool. The Astros did not push the matter at the time, but they brought it back to MLB’s attention when they were being investigating for sign stealing.
MLB is aware of the video of Cora’s comments about Beltran, but there are no plans to investigate the Yankees at this time.
Regarding video of Cora talking about Beltran helping Yankees in '19.
MLB sources reaffirm this AM they're not investigating NYY. Video could easily be talking pitch tipping/legal sign stealing.
NYY have adamantly denied CB helped them do anything illegal. League corroborates
— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) January 15, 2020
While the Astros and Red Sox seem to have been particularly arrogant while stealing signs, the practice is prevalent across the league. That is why MLB tried to sweep it under the rug, and it’s the reason comments like the ones CC Sabathia made this week may end up looking bad down the road.