Cora's Arrogance Was His Ultimate Undoing

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Major League Baseball concluded its investigation of the Houston Astros alleged use of video equipment to steal signals during the 2017 season on Monday, and the punishment to the organization was handed out swiftly and decisively by Commissioner Rob Manfred.  When the dust settled, Manager A.J. Hinch and General Manager Jeff Luhnow were suspended for a year and subsequently fired by Astros Owner Jim Crane.

Photo courtesy of Boston25News.com
The Astros were also fined $5,000,000, the maximum allowable under MLB rules, and were stripped of their first and second round draft picks in both 2020 and 2021.  Former assistant GM Brandon Taubman was also suspended by the league for one year.

Another former Astros employee from that season, former Astros Bench Coach and current Red Sox Manager Alex Cora, was heavily implicated in the report.  Cora not only had knowledge of what the players were doing and was complicit in the scheme, he allegedly was the “mastermind” of the operation.  The Commissioner held off in levying punishment against Cora because the Red Sox are also under investigation by the MLB for alleged cheating allegations from the 2018 season, Cora’s first as team manager.

Clemson Tigers gear at Fanatics.comStealing signs has been part of the game for as long as the game has been played.  However, baseball has been clear that the use of technology in sign stealing signs is expressly forbidden, and this is why the punishment for the Astros has been so harsh.  Major League Baseball Regulations prohibit the use of electronic equipment during games and state that no such equipment 'may be used for the purpose of stealing signs or conveying information designed to give a Club an advantage.'

In 2017, under them Manager John Farrell, the Red Sox were fined an undisclosed sum for the use of Apple Watches to relay stolen signals.  This amounted to a metaphoric slap on the wrist, with the expectation that further transgressions would receive more significant punishment.  If the current investigation should determine the Red Sox used a similar plan to the Astros to steal signals, and that Cora was again at the center of it all, expect the penalty to be far worse than that handed down to the Astros.

Cora’s arrogance is apparent in his interactions with the media.  He projects an image of being the smartest man in the room and bristles when questioned on his decisions.  And after being part of a World Series winner in two consecutive seasons, Cora’s hubris was on full display in 2019.  He made questionable moves going into that season, such as flip-flopping Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi at the top of the order, which were abject failures and led to the disappointing results on the field.

The arrogance displayed by Cora going into 2019 hurt the Red Sox in that season, and his arrogance in utilizing technology to steal signals could impact them in 2020 and beyond.  Cora is facing a suspension likely to exceed the one year banishment given to Hinch, and Red Sox owner John Henry may have no choice but to follow Crane’s example and fire his manager for the integrity of the organization.

Henry should consider firing Cora now to potentially lessen the penalties to be handed down by the MLB.  If the penalties are as severe as or worse than the punishments given to the Astros, the Red Sox can expect to lose multiple draft picks as a result.  One thing the Red Sox desperately need to do is rebuild their depleted farm system left by former President Dave Dombrowski.  The potential of losing high level draft picks could have serious implications for years to come.

Cora had potential as a manager.  He had a feel for the game and an ability to connect with players, particularly Latin players.  He was instrumental in the progression of Xander Bogaerts and Eduardo Rodriguez, and the emergence of Rafael Devers.  Sadly, his days of being a big league manager appear to be over.  In the end, he was his own worst enemy.  Now the Red Sox must rebuild with a new man at the helm.

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Boston Sports Syndicate: Cora's Arrogance Was His Ultimate Undoing
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