Major League Baseball issues Red Sox punishment, Cora suspended only for role with Astros

Ruben Hill
April 23, 2020

Major League Baseball released its report into the Red Sox, announcing that it found the team guilty of electronically stealing signs during the 2018 regular season.

Conceptually, the Red Sox' conduct was similar to that of Houston Astros in using video replay systems to decode opponents' signs, in violation of league rules.

The Boston Red Sox waited for months for Major League Baseball to conclude its investigation into alleged sign stealing by the team during the 2018 season. "MLB's acknowledge the front office's extensive efforts to communicate and enforce the rules and concluded that Alex Cora, the coaching staff, and most of the players did not engage in, nor were they aware of, any violations". Regardless, these rule violations are unacceptable. It mandated that former manager Alex Cora would serve a one-year suspension from baseball for his dealings in the Astros' scandal, but would face no further punishment for what occurred in Boston. Former Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, who led the club's front office in 2018 and was sacked last September, was not penalized.

Cora was sacked by the Red Sox earlier this offseason. Furthermore, the league's investigation didn't find any evidence that the Red Sox kept electronically stealing signs during the 2018 postseason. The loss of the draft pick, per the commissioner, stems from the fact that he still felt the organization should be held accountable for benefiting from data that was obtained improperly. The investigation included interviews with 65 witnesses, as well as the review of thousands of electronic messages. "The club's front office took more than reasonable steps to ensure that its employees, including Watkins, adhered to the rules".

Cora was the Astros' bench coach at the time and was named manager of the Red Sox that ensuing offseason. However, he was also the team's replay reviewer, responsible during games for coordinating with Cora on whether to challenge a call or not.

Many players told my investigators that they were unaware that in-game sign decoding from the replay station had been prohibited in 2018 and 2019.
Such measures were not in place throughout the regular season.

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