Welcome to Boston.com’s Sports Q, our daily conversation, initiated by you and moderated by Chad Finn, about a compelling topic in Boston sports. Here’s how it works: You submit questions to Chad through Twitter, Facebook, and email. He’ll pick one each weekday to answer, then we’ll take the discussion to the comments. Chad will stop by several times per day to navigate. But you drive the conversation.
After seeing A.J. Hinch get banned for a year for the Astros’ sign-stealing scam when he wasn’t even the mastermind, what do you think happens to Alex Cora? He was instrumental in that and has brought another investigation upon the Red Sox. Think he’s banned for life? It seems possible. — Chris P.
Well, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that it would going to be “harsh,’’ and that was in the aftermath of the announcement of the season-long punishments of Hinch and Jeff Luhnow — but before Astros owners Jim Crane canned both of them. I thought it was going to be a year after hearing what Hinch got. The more I think about it, the more convinced I become that it will be longer. Maybe two years. Maybe – and this sounds ridiculous, but I bet it’s in play – a lifetime ban.
Cora is mentioned in Rob Manfred’s detailed explanation of the Astros’ punishment almost as much as Hinch is. Hinch apparently passive-aggressively tried to stop the shenanigans by disabling some equipment, though the league says he didn’t outright tell players to knock it off. Cora, meanwhile, was, according to the league’s report, at the forefront of coming up with the logistics of both the scheme to bang on a trash can to signal pitches as well as setting up the monitor in the hallway. He was the lone member of the “non-player staff” to be involved. At one point in the explanation of the punishment, Manfred explains, “the 2017 scheme in which players banged on a trash can was, with the exception of Cora, player driven and player executed.”
It seems pretty cut and dried that Manfred blames Cora more than any other individual for the execution of the Astros schemes. And that doesn’t even take into consideration the current investigations into the Red Sox, which certainly suggests that a culture of cheating follows him. And it came after the league warned the Red Sox and every other major league team about using technology to steal signs after the FitBit scandal (it wasn’t an Apple Watch) in 2018.
He is going to get hammered. I think he’s getting walloped with a ban of two years, which almost certainly means he’s done as Red Sox manager. And it would not shock me if it’s a lifetime suspension with the possibility of having it lifted upon review in a couple of years.
But what does everyone else think? What will Alex Cora’s punishment be? I’ll hear you in the comments.