Baumann: The treatment for sign stealing isn’t a cure for MLB’s disease

From SABR member Michael Baumann at The Ringer on January 14, 2020:

The Red Sox and manager Alex Cora announced Tuesday evening that they were parting ways by mutual consent. This news came about 30 hours after Cora was named in a report by the commissioner’s office as one of the masterminds behind the trash-can banging and other methods that allowed the Houston Astros to communicate opposing pitchers’ signs to batters for the better part of two seasons. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred suspended Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and field manager A.J. Hinch one season each for knowing about this ongoing bit of percussive espionage and doing nothing to stop it; Manfred granted Cora a stay of execution only because the league office is also looking into allegations that Cora’s 2018 Red Sox used similar sign-stealing techniques through video monitors in the team’s replay room. An even lengthier suspension is almost certainly in the cards for Cora.

Which is to say this: The press release may have said “mutually agreed to part ways,” but Cora was fired.


The Astros, Red Sox, and the league, all now have the opportunity to move on. The question before the league and the fans, reporters, and analysts who make up the broader American baseball community is whether it would be wise to take that opportunity.

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Originally published: January 16, 2020. Last Updated: January 16, 2020.