BOSTON (CBS) — Alex Cora participated in a process to steal signs for the Houston Astros in 2017, and for that, he believes he deserves punishment.
Yet the now-former Red Sox manager who is suspended for the 2020 season wants to set the record straight after Major League Baseball and the Astros organization singled him out as the “mastermind” of the entire operation.
“There has been a narrative out there of what happened,” Cora told ESPN’s Marly Rivera. “Ever since mid-November until the commissioner announced the results of the Red Sox investigation, I have read many things that are true and many others that are not. Out of this whole process, if there is one thing that I completely reject and disagree with is people within the Astros’ organization singling me out, particularly [former general manager] Jeff Luhnow, as if I were the sole mastermind. The commissioner’s report sort of explained, in its own way, what happened. But the [Astros players] have spoken up and refuted any allegations that I was solely responsible.”
Since the MLB investigation concluded, only Cora, former Astros manager A.J. Hinch, and Luhnow were punished by the league. Carlos Beltran, who was a player on the 2017 Astros, eventually ended up losing his job as Mets manager before he ever got to manage a game.
No Astros player received any punishment at all, as commissioner Rob Manfred issued punishment only to those who had no union protection.
“If there is one thing I am absolutely sure of, it is that it was not a two-man show. We all did it,” Cora told ESPN. “And let me be very clear that I am not denying my responsibility, because we were all responsible.”
Cora added: “I deserve my suspension and I’m paying the price for my actions. And I am not proud of what happened. We made a mistake as a group, the entire team. What happened was something that, if you ask anyone involved, no one is proud of it. We’re all at fault. Everybody. We’re all responsible. Everyone who was part of the team from around mid-May until the end of the season, we are all responsible.”
MLB also investigated the 2018 Red Sox for a sign-stealing scheme but found that Cora was not responsible in any way for that. Instead, MLB suspended the replay room operator for a year.
Cora and the Red Sox mutually parted ways after the Astros’ investigation notes were publicized by Manfred, but Cora said he does hope to return to baseball once his suspension ends.
“Right now, all I care about is my personal life and my family,” Cora told ESPN. “This has not been an easy time for us, and it’s my fault. Do I want to return the game? Absolutely. That’s why I worked so hard for so many years before being named Red Sox manager. But right now, all of that is secondary. My focus is on much more important things.”