Red Sox

Astros fire manager A.J. Hinch, GM Jeff Luhnow after sign-stealing penalties

Astros fire manager A.J. Hinch, GM Jeff Luhnow after sign-stealing penalties

The Houston Astros have parted ways with their manager and general manager. 

Astros owner Jim Crane announced Monday that manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow have been fired. Earlier in the afternoon, Major League Baseball released its findings from the investigation into the Astros stealing opposing teams' signs during their 2017 World Series-winning season. The league also announced Hinch and Luhnow were suspended through the 2020 World Series.

Rather than find a replacement manager and general manager for the upcoming season, the Astros decided to just move in a different direction. It will be interesting to see if the Boston Red Sox take a similar approach with manager Alex Cora.

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Cora, who was Houston's bench coach in 2017, played a key role in the Astros' sign-stealing operation that year, according to the league's report released Monday.

The league noted it won't announce any punishment for Cora until after the investigation into the Red Sox is complete. The 2018 Red Sox also are being investigated by the league for illegally stealing signs. Cora's first year as Red Sox manager was 2018. Boston won the World Series in 2018 after winning 108 regular season games and beating three 100-win opponents in the postseason.

The MLB did not announce a timetable for when the investigation into the Red Sox would be concluded or when or any punishment for Cora would be announced. The Red Sox have not, as of this writing, made any official comment on Monday's developments.

MLB details Cora's role in Astros scandal in new report

J.D. Martinez states without equivocation that Red Sox will be exonerated by MLB investigation

J.D. Martinez states without equivocation that Red Sox will be exonerated by MLB investigation

SPRINGFIELD -- For five hours on Saturday morning at Winter Weekend, Red Sox players and coaches delivered basically the same message in regards to the 2018 cheating scandal: We're not at liberty to say anything until the league finishes its investigation.

And then J.D. Martinez stepped in front of the cameras.

The slugging DH, who earlier this offseason chose to remain in Boston rather than exercise an opt-out in his contract, minced no words when asked if the Red Sox did anything wrong during their championship 2018 season.

"You know, it sucks, to be honest with you," he said of the investigation. "It does suck. But you know what? I know I'm excited for the investigation to be over with just so that they can see that there was nothing going on here."

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So he believes the team is innocent of the charges that it used the replay room to steal opposing signs in real time?

"I believe that, yes," Martinez said.

And what gives Martinez this confidence, despite a report to the contrary in The Athletic claiming that the Red Sox stole signs?

"Because I was in there," he said. "I saw what was. . . . Straight up, everyone seems to forget that in 2017 and '16 this team was a really good team. This team won 93 games those two years and then we just got better."

Martinez spoke without hesitation, and also saluted departed manager Alex Cora, while offering some insight into why Cora decided to leave the team.

"Kind of heartbroken about it," he said. "I talked to him before and I understood his side of it. He didn't want to be a distraction going into the season. I know it was wearing on him and his family, so I obviously feel for him and I wish him the best. But I know he played a big, big role for our team and he was one of my favorites, if not my favorite manager that I've had. It's going to be tough."

Mike Lowell says he'd love to take job as Red Sox manager temporarily if it brought Alex Cora back

Mike Lowell says he'd love to take job as Red Sox manager temporarily if it brought Alex Cora back

Mike Lowell would check a lot of the boxes the Red Sox would be looking for in their managerial search. The popular former Red Sox third baseman is a Cuban-American who speaks Spanish and English and is media-savvy as an analyst for the MLB Network. 

Still, there's one condition he has that will probably take Lowell out of the running. 

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The 2007 World Series MVP and 2018 inductee into the team's Hall of Fame has no managerial experience, but told WEEI's Rob Bradford in a text message, "I would love to if I knew it was just for a year and Cora was guaranteed to come back."

Alex Cora, a Red Sox teammate of Lowell's for three seasons (2006-08), was let go by on Tuesday after he was named as the central figure in Major League Baseball's investigation of sign-stealing by the Houston Astros when Cora was their bench coach in 2017. Cora is also alleged to have brought a similar system to Boston when he became manager before the 2018 season. MLB is continuing to investigate the allegations against the Red Sox and it will likely result in a suspension of one season or longer for Cora.

Former Astros manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were each suspended for a season by MLB and subsequently fired by Houston.

With Cora facing perhaps a longer punishment, or perhaps even a lifetime ban from baseball -- and from Red Sox ownership's telling silence when asked if Cora would ever manage in the majors again -- Lowell's plan of temporarily filling in until Cora's return isn't likely to fly.