MLB sign-stealing investigation turns to Cora, Red Sox

Jimmy Golen
Associated Press

Boston — Alex Cora could be the next World Series-winning manager sent home for stealing signs.

Commissioner Rob Manfred said the Red Sox skipper was “an active participant” in the sign-stealing scandal that cost Houston manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow their jobs Monday. Cora was Houston’s bench coach when the team used electronics to illegally steal signs en route to a World Series championship in 2017.

Alex Cora also was suspended for the last year for his role in the sign-stealing scandal, from when he was Houston's bench coach. He was fired as manager of the Boston Red Sox before the 2020 season.

The commissioner said Cora was among those who “originated and executed” aspects of the cheating scheme, in which the team used a center field camera to decode catchers’ signals to pitchers and banged on a trash can with a bat or massage gun near the dugout to let hitters know which pitch was coming.

Manfred is withholding discipline for Cora until concluding a separate investigation into allegations that Boston used electronics to steal signs in 2018, when the Red Sox won a franchise-record 108 regular-season games and a World Series in Cora’s first season as manager.

More:Astros fire AJ Hinch, general manager after season-long ban for Houston's sign-stealing

The Red Sox did not immediately comment on the report. Red Sox owners John Henry and Tom Werner and president Sam Kennedy did not respond to an email from the Associated Press seeking comment.

Manfred’s nine-page report mentioned Cora by name 11 times — more than any individual except Hinch or Luhnow, who were fired by owner Jim Crane one hour after Manfred suspended them for the 2020 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.”

It’s uncertain when MLB will conclude its investigation into the Red Sox. The senior assistant on the Red Sox staff is bench coach Ron Roenicke, who managed the Brewers from 2011-15. He had a 342-331 record in Milwaukee, leading the team to an NL Central title in his first season there and finishing second in the NL manager of the year voting.