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Cora out as Red Sox manager as MLB sign-stealing scandal deepens

Former Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora

Alex Cora is out as the manager of Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox as the sport’s electronic sign-stealing scandal continues to grow and deepen.

The Red Sox, MLB’s 2018 World Series champions under the leadership of Cora, announced late on January 14 that “given the findings [in the Houston Astros sign-stealing investigation] and the Commissioner’s ruling, it would not be possible for Alex to effectively lead the club going forward and we mutually agreed to part ways.”

Cora is all but certain to face league suspension for his role in Astros’ electronic sign stealing while he was bench coach for the 2017 Astros team that won the World Series. MLB levied a series of severe punishments for that scandal earlier this week, and Cora was frequently mentioned as an active participant in an electronic-based stealing of opponent signs in violation of league rules.

MLB said it was withholding discipline on Cora until it completes another investigation on the Red Sox and allegations of similar rule violations during Boston’s 2018 title season. A suspension against Cora would still apply even with his dismissal from the Red Sox, and prevent him from working for another team during that punishment.

The Red Sox’ parting with Cora follows Astros owner Jim Crane firing his general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch following the announcement of MLB’s suspensions on the pair. Cora had been under contract with the Red Sox through 2021 with a club option for 2022.

“I do not want to be distraction to the Red Sox as they move forward,” Cora said.

The parting with Cora continues a period of marked turbulence for the Red Sox, traditionally one of the MLB’s successful clubs both on and off the field with four titles since 2004 and a regular status as one of the sport’s highest earning and spending clubs. 

But as the Red Sox last year sank to their first non-playoff season since 2015 despite posting MLB’s highest Opening Day payroll at $213.2m, the club in September fired president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. His role was then assumed by Chaim Bloom, formerly with the Tampa Bay Rays, in a new title of chief baseball officer.