Pressure Increases On Red Sox With Cora's Links To Astros Scandal
The Red Sox may "face significant pressure to fire manager Alex Cora" in the wake of MLB's report and punishment of the Astros for sign-stealing, according to a front-page piece by Peter Abraham of the BOSTON GLOBE. Cora's name appears 11 times in yesterday's report issued by Commissioner Rob Manfred, saying that Cora was an "'active participant in the scheme' in Houston and that he 'implicitly condoned the players' conduct.'" But Manfred yesterday "did not issue any punishment to Cora." Manfred said that he would wait for MLB to "finish its investigation into whether the Red Sox engaged in similar activities" during their World Series-winning '18 season. The findings from that investigation are "expected before the start" of Spring Training. Red Sox Owner John Henry and Chair Tom Werner are "scheduled to meet with reporters Friday as part of the team's annual Winter Weekend event" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/14). In Boston, Jason Mastrodonato notes what makes matters "worse for the Red Sox" is that MLB's Astros report is "almost entirely based on a sign-stealing scheme that it says Cora was responsible for devising." According to the report, Cora was the "mastermind behind the plan and the only member of the field staff who participated in it" (BOSTON HERALD, 1/14). Also in Boston, Sean McAdam writes if fired Astros manager AJ Hinch "gets a year for being involved grudgingly and over his objections, what does Cora get for being involved with not one but two sign-stealing scandals in consecutive years with two different franchises?" (BOSTONSPORTSJOURNAL.com, 1/13).
CORA'S DAYS ARE NUMBERED: In Providence, Bill Koch writes it is "hard to see" Cora "surviving with the Red Sox if MLB imposes similar penalties" (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, 1/14). USA TODAY's Gabe Lacques writes it would be a "surprise if Cora sees the Fenway Park dugout this year" (1/14). In Boston, Tom Keegan writes the Red Sox "keeping a manager who has been suspended for a lengthy stretch is an invitation to divide a clubhouse and the rest of the organization." The club needs to "negotiate a buyout with Cora," and it will be "shocking" if he manages another game for the team (BOSTON HERALD, 1/14). In Philadelphia, Bob Brookover writes Cora "should be out of work" if Henry wants to "maintain the integrity of his franchise" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 1/14). YAHOO SPORTS' Mike Oz wrote if the Red Sox were "smart, they wouldn't wait for MLB to finish its investigation" into their own sign-stealing. Oz: "They'd fire Cora right away. ... They'd do it before an MLB investigation finds anything else unscrupulous about Cora's tenure with the team or while the attention is still on the Astros" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/13). ESPN's Jeff Passan said he would be "extraordinarily surprised" if Cora keeps his job. The Red Sox at this point "have reason to at least explore dismissing him before the investigation is over" ("Golic & Wingo," ESPN Radio, 1/14).
DODGED A BULLET: In N.Y., Deesha Thosar writes the "lack of accountability" on the shoulders of new Mets manager and then-Astros DH Carlos Beltran "allows the Mets to distance themselves from the example-setting scandal." Beltran will be "forced to explain his involvement in the scandal" in Spring Training, but it is a "minor burden when considering the alternative could have involved a suspension" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/14).