BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox fired manager Alex Cora on Tuesday, a day after baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred implicated him in the sport’s sign-stealing scandal.
Cora was the bench coach for the Houston Astros when they illicitly stole signs and won the 2017 World Series. He then led Boston to the title the following year in his first season as manager. Astros manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were fired on Monday, an hour after Manfred suspended them for the 2020 season for their role in the cheating scheme.
Manfred’s nine-page report mentioned Cora 11 times, describing him as a key person in the planning and execution of the cheating scheme.
Cora met Tuesday with Red Sox management, less than a month before the start of spring training.
“Given the findings and the commissioner’s ruling, we collectively decided that it would not be possible for Alex to effectively lead the club going forward and we mutually agreed to part ways,” the team said in a statement attributed to owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner, CEO Sam Kennedy and Cora.
Manfred said Cora was among those who “originated and executed” aspects of the cheating scheme, in which the team used a center field camera to decode catchers’ signals to pitchers and banged on a trash can with a bat or massage gun near the dugout to let hitters know which pitch was coming.
Manfred announced he was withholding punishment of Cora until completing a separate investigation of accusations the Red Sox stole signs in 2018. Indications were the penalty would be equal or greater than what Hinch and Luhnow received.
“We agreed today that parting ways was the best thing for the organization,” Cora said in a statement released by the Red Sox. “I do not want to be a distraction to the Red Sox as they move forward.”
New Mets manager and former Astros player Carlos Beltrán also was implicated by Manfred in his report Monday, the only player mentioned. Manfred decided that no players would be disciplined for breaking rules prohibiting the use of electronics to steal catcher’s signs in 2017 after levying penalties against Boston and the New York Yankees.