Red Sox stripped of pick, Cora banned in sign stealing scams

By  | 

NEW YORK CITY, New York (AP) -- Red Sox stripped of pick, Cora banned in sign stealing scams

NEW YORK (AP) - The Boston Red Sox have escaped the heavy punishment doled out to the Houston Astros in their separate sign-stealing scandals.

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has stripped the Red Sox of their second-round pick in this year’s draft while also punishing former Boston skipper Alex Cora for his role in the Astros’ sign-stealing maneuvers of 2017 and ‘18.

Manfred concluded Red Sox replay system operator J.T. Watkins broke rules by using in-game video to revise sign sequences provided to players. According to Manfred, Watkins was a “key participant” in the 2017 Apple incident, when the Red Sox used a smartwatch to relay decoded signs from the replay room to the dugout.

Watkins was suspended without pay through this year’s postseason and prohibited from serving as the replay room operator through 2021.

Meanwhile, Cora has been suspended through the 2020 postseason for his previous conduct as bench coach with the Astros. Cora became manager of the Red Sox in 2018 and left the team last winter.

Manfred found Boston’s conduct far less egregious than that of the Astros, whom he determined used video to steal catchers’ signs during their run to the 2017 World Series title and again during the 2018 season. Houston manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were suspended through the 2020 postseason on Jan. 13 and Houston was fined $5 million, the maximum under the Major League Constitution. The Astros were penalized their next two first- and second-round amateur draft picks.