On Monday, Major League Baseball Houston Astros after the league's investigation found Houston guilty of using technology to steal signs during the team's World Series championship run in 2017. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch received one-year suspensions, as well as a $5 million fine and the loss of future draft picks. Players were spared for their involvement.against the
Now, the league will shift its focus to the investigation of the Boston Red Sox, who were . According to ESPN's Jeff Passan, the Red Sox could learn their punishment soon, and it's expected to be harsh. Red Sox manager Alex Cora is expected to be hit hard with a punishment, Passan adds.
Cora joined the Red Sox as a first-year manager in 2018, and he came to Boston via Houston, where he served as the Astros' bench coach for the 2017 season. In MLB's nine-page report summary of the investigation into the Astros sign-stealing scheme, Cora is mentioned multiple times and viewed as one of the members of the dugout who spearheaded the scheme. Cora is credited with beginning to call the Astros' replay review room on the replay dugout phone to obtain sign information. Here's more from the report:
"Cora arranged for a video room technician to install a monitor displaying the center field camera feed immediately outside of the Astros' dugout. (The center field camera was primarily used for player development purposes and was allowed under MLB rules at the time when used for that purpose.) Witnesses have provided largely consistent accounts of how the monitor was utilized. One or more players watched the live feed of the center field camera on the monitor, and after decoding the sign, a player would bang a nearby trash can with a bat to communicate the upcoming pitch type to the batter."
The report claims that the witnesses interviewed as part of the investigation "consistently described this scheme as player-driven." But with the exception of Cora, no other non-player staff, including individuals in the video replay review room, had involvement in the sign-stealing. However, the report acknowledges that witnesses made clear that everyone in close proximity to the Astros' dugout presumptively heard or saw the banging. The final summary depicts Cora as having been heavily involved in the sign-stealing scheme: "Cora was involved in developing both the banging scheme and utilizing the replay review room to decode and transmit signs. Cora participated in both schemes, and through his active participation, implicitly condoned the players' conduct."
Manfred notes that he will not hand out discipline for Cora until his department completes the investigation of the allegations that the Red Sox engaged in electronic sign stealing in 2018 while Cora was the manager.
The Red Sox have been disciplined before for using technology to steal signs, although it occurred one year before Cora was hired. In September of 2017, Boston (along with the Yankees) was fined for electronically pilfering signs from the opposing catcher. In the Red Sox's case, their sign-stealing involved the use of an Apple Watch to steal and relay signs. After the 2017 incidents, Manfred released a memo to all 30 MLB clubs warning of more severe punishments for any future violations of the rule that prevents use of electronic equipment or the inappropriate use of the video replay room.