Red Sox

Pete Rose shares passionate take on Alex Cora, Astros cheating scandal

Pete Rose shares passionate take on Alex Cora, Astros cheating scandal

UPDATE (Jan. 14, 7:26 p.m.) — The Red Sox and Alex Cora have "mutually agreed to part ways."

Pete Rose knows better than anyone what it's like to receive a harsh penalty from Major League Baseball.

The sport's all-time hits leader accepted a lifetime ban from Major League Baseball in 1989 for betting on games while manager of the Cincinnati Reds. Rose's ban still hasn't been lifted, and the punishment also has kept him from being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The Houston Astros received an enormous penalty of their own Monday after the league investigated the club for illegally stealing signs during its 2017 World Series-winning season. Included in the league's punishment were the suspensions of manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow through the 2020 World Series, in addition to a $5 million fine and the loss of first- and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021. Hinch and Luhnow were fired shortly after the league announced its penalties. 

Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora likely is the next person to be penalized. Cora was the Astros' bench coach in 2017, and according to the league's report, he played a pivotal role in creating and implementing the system used to steal signs from opposing teams.

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Astros players received no punishment, however, and Rose questioned that decision in recent comments made to Randy Miller of

“So they fire the GM, they fire the manager, and (MLB) probably is going to get Alex Cora, who was the (Astros) bench coach at the time,” Rose told Miller. “But what about the players who were behind this and taking the knowledge? Should they get off scot-free? Don’t you have to do something to the players who were accepting the stolen signs? Nothing’s been done. Is that fair?”

Rose thinks the players deserve their share of the guilt from this sign-stealing operation.

“Most players don’t give a damn about what happens to an organization as long as it doesn’t happen to them,” Rose said, per Miller. “If I’m a player and every time I bat I’m getting the signs from the dugout, I’m just as guilty as the guy who is giving me the signs.”

Astros players, as of this writing, have not spoken out on social media with any sort of reaction to the punishment handed down to the organization, or the firing of the manager and general manager. Plenty of other people around baseball have shared their thoughts, including New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman putting Cora on blast via Twitter on Tuesday.

The MLB is still investigating the Red Sox for stealing signs in 2018 -- Cora's first year as manager. Any punishment for Cora won't be announced until that investigation is completed.

Getting to know Ron Roenicke, potential next man up for Sox

Watch Athletics' Ramon Laureano charge Astros dugout, start a brawl

Watch Athletics' Ramon Laureano charge Astros dugout, start a brawl

The Houston Astros were involved in another benches-clearing scene Sunday afternoon, this time with the Oakland Athletics.

The action started when Athletics outfielder Ramón Laureano was hit by a pitch in the seventh inning. Laureano was understandably upset after being hit. However, Laureano took his frustration too far when he started exchanging words with Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron and eventually charged Houston's dugout. 

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Check out the crazy sequence in the video below: 

Laureano shouldn't be charging the dugout, but Cintron deserves a lot of the blame for what transpired. Coaches shouldn't be getting into heated exchanges with opposing players. 

Houston is not a well-liked team right now, and opponents have not been shy about voicing their opinions of the Astros and their players ever since Major League Baseball handed down unprecedented punishment to Houston in January for its sign-stealing operation that began in 2017.

Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly, who's in his second season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, was suspended eight games after almost hitting two Astros players in a July 28 game. The suspension sparked a passionate reaction from fans and players on social media, with most people quickly coming to Kelly's defense.

The Astros didn't receive any suspensions for what happened in that game against Kelly and the Dodgers. Houston probably won't be as fortunate this time -- Cintron definitely deserves a suspension for his actions.

Without Mitch Moreland, Red Sox season might already be in toliet

USA TODAY Sports photo

Without Mitch Moreland, Red Sox season might already be in toliet

Mitch Moreland is a survivor.

He joined the Red Sox in 2017 after seven years in Texas to help fill the void left by the retirement of David Ortiz. The following winter, when baseball players muttered about collusion and talents like J.D. Martinez remained unsigned into spring training, Moreland read the market perfectly by signing a two-year $13 million extension to guarantee he wouldn't be left in the cold.

He made his first All-Star team in 2018 and blasted the pivotal homer of the postseason, a pinch-hit three-run blast that led the Red Sox to a Game 3 victory over the Dodgers. He returned last year for what looked like his Red Sox swan song, bursting out of the gate before injuries limited him to 91 games.

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It turns out he wasn't going anywhere. He inked a one-year, $3 million deal in January with a club option for 2021, and all he has done since is keep the Red Sox afloat in the wide-open American League.

On Sunday that meant homering once in the second to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead over the Blue Jays, and again in the ninth to give them a 5-3 walkoff victory.

At 6-9, the Red Sox only trail the White Sox by two games for the eighth and final AL wild card spot. With the pitching inconsistent until this weekend and the offense in hibernation since the opener, the Red Sox have Moreland to thank for not being buried already.

"I mean, we've got a lot of great players here," Moreland said. "All of them at some point or the other have stepped up and done their part to carry the team. It hasn't just been one guy or the next. We've got a lot of great players.

"If you're seeing the ball well, obviously that's going to help the team. Everybody's going to do that, even at some point this year. Guys are going to get on a roll. I'm happy I'm able to kind of step up and help tonight, but I don't approach it that way and I don't think they do either. Once they get in that groove, we'll be fine."

How essential has Moreland been? He's hitting .323 with a team-leading six homers and 12 RBIs. Only three players have hit more homers this year -- New York's Aaron Judge (8), burgeoning San Diego superstar Fernando Tatis (8), and Reds outfielder Nick Castellanos (7).

Meanwhile, the rest of the Red Sox offense is stuck in first gear, if it can even turn over the engine at all. Andrew Benintendi is hitting .056. Rafael Devers is at .175 and J.D. Martinez .196. After a hot start, Jackie Bradley Jr. has fallen to .238.

The Red Sox need the Morelands of the world to deliver until the mainstays find their form. It's a role he has filled before -- he slammed eight homers last April when the Red Sox were otherwise scuffling -- but his production is usually curtailed by injuries.

Manager Ron Roenicke acknowledged recently that Moreland's legs had been bothering him, which partially explains why he has only started eight of the team's 15 games. The Red Sox have used him in a platoon, mostly with the right-handed Michael Chavis, to ease the wear and tear.

"Obviously I've always had to fight some nagging stuff here and there," he said. "Would I like it differently? Yes, I would love to feel great every day. At times, the legs are a little heavy and I have to grind it out. (Roenicke's) done a great job communicating with me and we're a good team.

"We're solid all the way through, so different guys can get in there and pick up the team, too, and we have to realize that it's going to take everybody to get us to where we need to be."

If the Red Sox hope to reach the playoffs, then the big guns need to start doing their part. In the meantime, Moreland will help keep their head above water.