MLB

Red Sox part with manager Cora amid sign-stealing investigation

By Sports Desk January 14, 2020

The Boston Red Sox have parted ways with MLB World Series-winning manager Alex Cora amid allegations of sign stealing.

Boston and Cora mutually agreed to part a day after Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch were fired following an MLB investigation into sign-stealing allegations.

Cora – who was bench coach for the Astros when they illicitly stole signs and went on to win the 2017 World Series – was named in MLB's findings and is awaiting discipline as the league investigates whether Cora's Boston used electronics to steal signs during their triumphant 2018 season.

"Today we met to discuss the Commissioner’s report related to the Houston Astros investigation," the Red Sox said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Given the findings and the Commissioner's ruling, we collectively decided that it would not be possible for Alex to effectively lead the club going forward and we mutually agreed to part ways."

In MLB commissioner Rob Manfred's report on Monday, he wrote: "Cora was involved in developing both the banging scheme and utilising the replay review room to decode and transmit signs. Cora participated in both schemes, and through his active participation, implicitly condoned the player's conduct."

Red Sox owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner and president/CEO Sam Kennedy added: "This is a sad day for us. Alex is a special person and a beloved member of the Red Sox.

"We are grateful for his impact on our franchise. We will miss his passion, his energy and his significant contributions to the communities of New England and Puerto Rico."

The 44-year-old Cora joined the Red Sox in 2018 and led the storied franchise to World Series glory in his first season, though Boston missed the playoffs in 2019.

"I want to thank John, Tom, Sam, the players, our coaching staff and the entire Red Sox organisation. I especially want to thank my family for their love and support," Cora said.

"We agreed today that parting ways was the best thing for the organization. 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. It was an honour to manage these teams and help bring a World Series Championship back to Boston.

"I will forever be indebted to the organisation and the fans who supported me as a player, a manager and in my efforts to help Puerto Rico. This is a special place. There is nothing like it in all of baseball, and I will miss it dearly."

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    The Houston Astros' sign stealing did not impact the outcome of the 2017 World Series, according to team owner Jim Crane.

    A league investigation found the Astros had stolen signs during their 2017 championship, and general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch were suspended and then fired by Houston in a story that has dominated the MLB offseason.

    The Los Angeles Dodgers were beaten by the Astros in the seventh and deciding game of the World Series, but MLB commissioner Rob Manfred suggested the team will not be stripped of their title.

    Speaking to the media at spring training on Thursday, Crane said: "Our opinion is this didn't impact the game. We had a good team. We won the World Series and we'll leave it at that."

    With Luhnow and Hinch already dismissed, and Alex Cora - formerly the Astros' bench coach - having left his role as manager of the Boston Red Sox, Crane added: "I don't think I should be held accountable."

    Second baseman and 2017 American League MVP Jose Altuve was more apologetic, saying: "The whole Astros organisation and the team feels bad about what happened in 2017.

    "The team is determined to move forward, to play with intensity and to bring back a championship to Houston in 2020."

    And eight-time All-Star Justin Verlander later spoke to reporters, revealing his regret at the team's actions.

    "Once I spent some time and understood what was happening, I wish I had said more," said Verlander, who joined the team during the 2017 campaign and was named AL Championship Series MVP.

    "Looking back, I can't go back, I can't reverse my decision. Like I said, I wish I had said more. I didn't and, for that, I'm sorry."

  • 'It's going to be pretty special' – Dodgers recruit Mookie Betts 'It's going to be pretty special' – Dodgers recruit Mookie Betts

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    "It's going to be pretty special. He won the MVP last year, so he's definitely going to put on a show, and I'll do my best to keep up with him."

    Betts helped the Red Sox to World Series glory in 2018 but Boston opted to trade the four-time Gold Glove Award winner after failing to agree a long-term deal.

    The 27-year-old outfielder and Price, plus cash considerations, were sent to the Dodgers in exchange for Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs and Connor Wong.

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    Price added: "To be able to jump onto a team like the Dodgers, a team that has had the amount of success they've had the last couple years, and then add a player like Mookie Betts and to then be able to add myself to that mix as well, that's something special to be a part of, and we're both very excited about it."

  • Red Sox name Roenicke interim manager Red Sox name Roenicke interim manager

    The Boston Red Sox have appointed Ron Roenicke as their interim manager.

    Roenicke had previously served as bench coach under Alex Cora, whom the Red Sox parted company with last month after it was found he was involved in the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal.

    "Ron’s extensive coaching and managerial experience, in addition to his familiarity with our players and staff, make him an ideal fit as we prepare for the 2020 season," Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom.

    "He has the respect of everyone in the clubhouse, and the way he carries himself and communicates will be a positive influence on our entire organisation.

    "We are confident that Ron will hit the ground running, and we're excited to work closely with him as he leads our group forward."

    Roenicke could be hired to the role on a permanent basis once MLB's sign-stealing investigation into the 2018 World Series-champion Red Sox is completed.

    The Red Sox start spring training on Wednesday following a tumultuous offseason that has also seen them controversially trade star outfielder Mookie Betts and pitcher David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    Boston missed the playoffs in 2019, finishing third in the American League East with an 84-78 record.

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