The Boston Red Sox said on Tuesday they were parting ways with manager Alex Cora in the wake of a sign-stealing scandal involving the Houston Astros, where Cora had been the bench coach, during their World Series-winning 2017 season.
The Astros on Monday said they were firing both manager A.J. Hinch and General Manager Jeff Luhnow for their roles in the scandal after Major League Baseball imposed one-year bans on each.
In its judgment on Monday, the league said Cora had arranged for the installation of a monitor showing centerfield camera shots, giving players the ability to decipher the signs and alert batters.
The Red Sox said it would not be possible for Cora to remain with the team given the league’s findings.
“This is a sad day for us,” Principal Owner John Henry, Chairman Tom Werner and CEO Sam Kennedy said in a statement.
“Alex is a special person and a beloved member of the Red Sox. We are grateful for his impact on our franchise.”
Cora said in a statement released by the team: “I do not want to be a distraction to the Red Sox as they move forward.
“My two years as manager were the best years of my life.”
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred had said on Monday that Cora “implicitly condoned” the Astros players’ conduct.
He said the MLB would withhold any disciplinary action against him until the completion of a separate investigation of allegations the Red Sox engaged in sign-stealing in 2018, when they won the World Series in Cora’s first year as manager.
Along with the suspensions of Hinch and Luhnow MLB also fined the Astros $5 million and took away the club’s first- and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021.
Executive Kennedy insists Red Sox won 2018 title fairly
Whether the Boston Red Sox’s 2018 World Series title was won legitimately is up for debate after Alex Cora was involved in sign-stealing scandals in back-to-back seasons with the 2017 champion Houston Astros and Red Sox.
The Red Sox held a press conference on Wednesday — one day after parting ways with Cora — and team president Sam Kennedy made it clear he doesn’t believe the World Series win over the Los Angeles Dodgers is tainted.
Kennedy was asked, “Do you believe you beat the Dodgers fairly and squarely?”
His reply: “Absolutely, yes.”
The Red Sox repeatedly declined to answer questions involving their 2018 title.
citing that Major League Baseball’s investigation is still ongoing.
Cora was identified by MLB on Monday as a ringleader in the Astros’ scheme to steal signs en route to their 2017 World Series championship, when he was Houston’s bench coach. He became the Red Sox’s manager the next year and led his new team to the title — albeit with lingering suspicions regarding similar illegal sign-stealing.
On Monday, MLB announced major sanctions against Houston, including one-season suspensions for manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow, who were subsequently fired by the Astros.
On Tuesday, Red Sox brass met with Cora and all parties agreed that parting ways was necessary.
“Alex by his own admission, and we agreed, played a central role in what went on in Houston and we all agreed that it was wrong and that we had a responsibility as stewards where that sort of behavior is unacceptable,” Red Sox chairman Tom Werner said during the press conference.
Werner requested that the team’s fans withhold judgment on the 2018 team until the investigation is complete.
Kennedy said that it wasn’t anything that occurred in Boston that led to Cora no longer being the manager.
“It is also important to recognize that this collective mutual decision yesterday was related exclusively to the incidents that took place in Houston,” Kennedy said. .”.. Alex came to the conclusion that he could not effectively lead the organization going forward in light of the commissioner’s findings and the ruling and we came to that conclusion as well.”
While Cora was tabbed as the ringleader of the sign-stealing scheme in Houston, also mentioned was then-player Carlos Beltran, who was recently hired to be manager of the New York Mets.
The Mets haven’t indicated how they plan to handle the situation with Beltran at a time when Cora and Hinch have lost their jobs.
ESPN analyst Mark Teixeira, a former teammate of Beltran on the New York Yankees, says Beltran has to go.
“They have to fire Carlos Beltran,” Teixeira said on ESPN. “There’s no way that Carlos Beltran, especially in the pressure cooker of New York, there’s no way he can be the manager of the Mets. ...
“You cannot have that guy lead your team. The New York papers, the Daily News and the Post and all of the tabloids, will eat up Carlos Beltran every single day until he’s fired.”