Things Are Looking Bleak for Alex Cora

The Astros are facing a severe punishment for sign-stealing in 2017, and it's all downhill from here.

alex cora

AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

This is bad. Very, very bad. Folks, it does not look good.

The MLB has just handed down an apocalyptic punishment to the Houston Astros’ general manager and manager for their role in the team’s sign-stealing scandal: A full-year suspension, plus the league maximum $5 million fine and the loss of first- and second-round draft picks. In the wake of the decision, the Astros on Monday announced that both men, A. J. Hinch and Jeff Lunhow, have been fired.

Missing from the league’s decision, however, is a punishment for Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who was the bench coach for the Astros during the 2017 season, when the alleged dirty deeds went down. The league says in its report that it found the team made illegal use of a replay video feed to suss out signs used by opposing teams, and then shared that information to batters either by having runners on base transmit signals to batters, or by banging on a trash can with a bat or “massage gun.”

The league’s report suggests it believes Cora was even more culpable than the rest of the coaching staff, describing the sign-stealing effort as “player-driven … with the exception of Cora.”

A ruling on what to do about Cora is expected once the league finishes a probe of his time in Boston. Red Sox players have also been accused of making inappropriate visits to a replay room to steal opposing team’s signs during the 2018 season.

And in case there was any question about what clues we can draw about Cora’s fate from the price the Astros will have to pay—which The Athletic has described as “unprecedented”—the signs from the sports media world are all bad. Citing unnamed sources, ESPN’s Jeff Passan said in a tweet that he’s been told that word of punishment for Cora is imminent, and “is going to be harsh.”