Several Boston Red Sox players have shown support for former manager Alex Cora as MLB continues to investigate his involvement with stealing signs.
Alex Cora isn’t exactly popular with Major League Baseball these days but it’s clear that several of his former players still hold a tremendous amount of respect for the former Boston Red Sox manager.
While Cora has been vilified for his role in the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal, which led to a “mutual” agreement for him to step down as manager of the Red Sox, he’s still a hero in the eyes of the players he connected with over his two seasons in Boston.
Eduardo Rodriguez posted a photo on Instagram of him standing beside Cora while celebrating their 2018 championship. The caption refers to Cora as more than a manager. He’s a brother, friend and adviser.
E-Rod had the best season of his career under Cora’s guidance last season. The lefty had long been considered an enticing asset dripping with potential but struggled to find consistency in the early stages of his career. He credits learning from Cora as a factor in his breakout campaign.
Christian Vazquez shared an Instagram Story with a caption that thanked his “big brother” for everything he did for the team, his family and their native Puerto Rico. One of the stipulations that Cora had when he took the manager position was that the Red Sox needed to help send supplies to his homeland that had been ravaged by a hurricane.
Cora obviously made mistakes that have branded him a cheater but that doesn’t define him. His efforts aiding Puerto Rico and the respect he’s earned from those close to him speak much more to his true character.
Think about who is impacted most by sign stealing. The pitcher is at a disadvantage due to the batter being warned of the type of pitch heading toward them and the catcher’s signals have been decoded. Yet here we have a Red Sox pitcher and catcher standing by Cora. Both players were victims of Cora’s tactics when the Red Sox were eliminated by the Astros in the 2017 ALDS. They would have every right to feel betrayed but they have instead expressed the opposite reaction. That speaks volumes to how Cora was viewed in the clubhouse.
Rookie Michael Chavis didn’t spend as much time with Cora but the manager clearly had an influence on his development.
"“I can’t say enough about his character,” Chavis said. “He’s a very good dude. He did a lot to help me as a player, especially at second base.“He was a phenomenal second baseman and shortstop, so he somewhat took me under his wing and went out of his way to make sure I was comfortable, so I’m very thankful for that.”"
Chavis made his major league debut in late April. With his natural position at the hot corner blocked by Rafael Devers, the rookie was forced to learn new positions on the fly in order for the Red Sox to find room for his bat in the lineup. Chavis saw nearly half his playing time at second base last season. Moving from a corner spot to the middle of the infield isn’t easy for a young player but Cora, a former middle infielder, helped ease the transition.
Cora put the Red Sox in a tough spot, scrambling to find his replacement with only a few short weeks before spring training begins. During Wednesday’s press conference at Fenway Park, owner John Henry said it’s “not ideal,” which might be the understatement of the year.
The media, fans, and former players have crucified Cora for his actions but we haven’t heard any negative comments from current Red Sox players. They are the ones impacted most by MLB’s pending investigation but instead of piling on, they have shown nothing but support for their former manager.