The Boston Red Sox are reportedly courting Alex Cora to be their next manager and are expected to interview him soon. That's shocking news considering Boston fired Cora before the 2020 season after it was revealed he was involved in two sign-stealing scandals -- including one as manager of the Red Sox. If Boston is willing to re-hire him what, exactly, was Cora's punishment for cheating?
Cora oversaw electronic sign-stealing operations with both the 2017 Houston Astros and the 2018 Red Sox. Both teams won the World Series. In Houston, Cora and veteran Carlos Beltran were reportedly the driving force behind developing the use of video to steal signs. By most accounts, Cora employed a similar system when he was hired to manage the Red Sox the next season.
While Major League Baseball's report claimed there wasn't evidence Cora knew the Red Sox were stealing signs, that argument simply doesn't hold water. We're supposed to believe it was a coincidence that two teams with Cora in back-to-back years were doing nearly the same thing? And that the blame fully rested on a low-level staffer? Come on. Given the way MLB handled the Astros situation it's fair to conclude the league didn't get all of its facts right. Especially since no players were punished for their involvement.
Despite all the controversy he was involved in, Cora appears in the mix to get his old job back. So I'll ask it again, what was his punishment? His "one-year" suspension lasted 60 games. He had to sit out a short, pandemic-ravaged season. Now he's free to manage again and the Red Sox are at least considering welcoming him back. If he's re-hired he'll essentially have taken a 10-month vacation.
A.J. Hinch was also suspended for one season by MLB for his role in the Astros scandal. The Detroit Tigers announced his hiring on Friday. Back in January I predicted he'd be hired immediately after the suspension was up. We've long known baseball franchises will forgive almost anything and managerial misconduct is no exception.
The Astros and Red Sox disgraced the game with their conduct and both won tainted championships. Cora and Hinch ran those teams and got the equivalent of a slap on the wrist. The fact that Cora could go right back to Boston just proves Rob Manfred's punishment was meaningless.