Gregory Bull/Associated Press
Alex Cora has opened up about the sign-stealing scandals involving the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox when he worked on the coaching staff for both teams.
In an interview with Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe, Cora explained he’s talking about both scandals now because he felt it was unfair that former Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow singled him out:
“It felt like there was something weird about how information was leaked. I do believe, honestly, we [expletive] up. That’s it. People are paying the price in different ways. A.J. [Hinch, former Astros manager] and Jeff were suspended. Carlos was in the report and he’s not in baseball right now. The players, they paid the price a little bit in spring training.
“But it was ‘we. ‘We’ did it. Whoever was there from May until the end, they know. When the players talked about it, some of them went straight up to what happened. Some of them, they didn’t. But at the end, we made a huge mistake and that’s it. We’ll see where it takes us.”
In a January statement released after being fired by the Astros, Luhnow denied having any involvement in the scheme:
“Anybody who has worked closely with me during my 32-year career inside and outside baseball can attest to my integrity. I did not know rules were being broken.
“As the commissioner set out in his statement, I did not personally direct, oversee or engage in any misconduct: The sign-stealing initiative was not planned or directed by baseball management; the trash-can banging was driven and executed by players, and the video decoding of signs originated and was executed by lower-level employees working with the bench coach. I am deeply upset that I wasn’t informed of any misconduct because I would have stopped it.”
Cora was Houston’s bench coach during the 2017 season when the cheating scheme was implemented by the team. The 44-year-old didn’t have much to say about the scandal involving the 2018 Red Sox.
“I don’t want to get into specifics with this,” Cora told Shaughnessy. “I went through a lot with MLB. I respect the decision of Rob (Manfred, MLB commissioner) in the Houston one. I was very honest with MLB in the second one.”
MLB announced in January that an investigation into the Astros found the team stole signs throughout the 2017 season and in part of the 2018 season. They used different methods, including a video feed to decode signs from opposing teams and banging on a trash can to relay what pitch the opposing pitcher was going to throw.
Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch were suspended for one year by MLB. Astros owner Jim Crane subsequently fired both men. The team was fined $5 million and forfeited first- and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021.
The Red Sox announced on Jan. 14 that Cora was fired for his role in the Astros’ scandal.
Manfred announced in April that the 2018 Red Sox used a video replay monitor to steal opponents’ signs. Cora, who was hired as Boston’s manager in October 2017, received a one-year suspension from the league.
Despite the abrupt end to his Boston tenure, Cora is open to managing again but understands it could be difficult for teams to hire him.
“I know it’s not going to be easy, as far as people giving me a chance,” he told Shaughnessy. “They are going to look back and then they are going to have to make up their minds. But at the end, I’m paying the price.”
Cora led the Red Sox to a franchise-record 108 regular-season wins and a World Series title in 2018. He went 192-132 in two seasons as Boston’s manager.