Red Sox need to fire Alex Cora if they want to keep any credibility
With it becoming clearer how involved Alex Cora was in the Astros and Red Sox cheating scandals, the Red Sox need to do the right thing and fire him to maintain their credibility with fans.
We all knew it was coming, but even so I don’t think anyone was prepared for the hammer that MLB dropped on Monday afternoon. The league announced that it was suspending Houston Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch for a season, fining the team $5 million, and taking away their first- and second-round draft picks for 2020 and 2021. Immediately after the announcement, Astros owner Jim Crane fired both, saying “neither one of them started this, but neither one of them did anything about it.” As for the person who did start it, that’s where the Red Sox come in.
In the same report, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred stated that the punishment for Red Sox manager Alex Cora would be coming and, according to sources in the ESPN article, it will be “harsh.” Cora was described in the report as the “ringleader” and supposedly restarted the cheating program of sign-stealing and signalling batters (the whole “banging-on-a-trash-can” we all laughed about back in November and December when the story first popped up) after Hinch removed it from the clubhouse tunnel.
According to Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe, Cora’s name appeared eleven times in the nine-page report. That’s damning in and of itself regardless of his being described as the “ringleader.” Various reports across sports media from those with inside sources predict that Cora’s punishment will be even harsher than that meted out to Houston. This may include a lengthy suspension, a fine, and the loss of draft picks. This is almost certainly because he not only led the cheating effort in Houston, but then brought it to Boston where it continued for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
A report last week stated that the Red Sox illegally used the replay room at Fenway Park to steal signs, but in light of this latest report, I and many others have a hard time believing that it stopped there.
More from Red Sox News
- Red Sox ‘in the mix’ for longtime Dodgers slugger Justin Turner
- Is Red Sox’ Eric Hosmer DFA a potential lifeline for Bobby Dalbec?
- Red Sox news: Orioles eyeing former Boston arms, Dansby Swanson to Cubs, JD Martinez to Dodgers
- 3 players the Red Sox could’ve DFA’ed instead of Jeter Downs and Eric Hosmer
- Eric Hosmer DFA is latest questionable Red Sox roster decision
Where this leaves the Red Sox is this: if they want to maintain any credibility, they have to fire Alex Cora irrespective of the punishment handed down by the league. From the moment Houston was implicated in a cheating scandal back in November, the Red Sox have been tainted by Cora being the common thread between the two teams (further compounded by their history from the 2017 Apple Watch incident under John Farrell). Media outlets and fans across the country have called into question the team’s dominant season in 2018 and their World Series championship that year. It’s a bad look for the Red Sox that got a lot worse on Monday.
If Cora is served with a lengthy suspension (let’s say a year) and the Sox simply allow him to serve it and then bring him back, that sends a terrible message to Red Sox fans and the league as a whole that they don’t take it seriously. Fair or not, in the minds of some people it may imply that they outright condone it.
Regardless of whether Cora’s system in Boston stayed within the confines of the replay room or sunk to the level of using illegal cameras and a signaling system like it did in Houston, Boston’s 2018 season is forever tainted in the minds of baseball fans. By firing Cora immediately after MLB concludes its investigation into his involvement, John Henry and the front office would be sending a message that they will not tolerate this kind of dishonesty and will keep their credibility with fans and the league.
Beyond the scarlet letter the team must wear for the foreseeable future because of this, there’s one group of people who should be livid with Cora right now: Red Sox players. I have no idea if they were active or passive participants in the cheating and I’d like to think they didn’t know about it altogether (naive as that may be), but if it turns out that they truly did have nothing to do with it, they should be embarrassed and furious at their (soon-to-be-former) manager. The 108 wins, the 11-3 postseason run, Mookie’s MVP season, the World Series title, all of it is now tainted because of this.
For fans (who had zero involvement in the scandal), that’s what makes this even worse: the sudden dampening of enjoyment that season gave us all. Perhaps knowing how much he’s hurt Red Sox fans would be the ultimate punishment for Alex Cora.