Red Sox

Red Sox

Major League Baseball just dropped the hammer on the Houston Astros, and Alex Cora is expected to be next.

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch both have been suspended one year for their role in Houston's illegal sign-stealing operation in 2017, The Athletic's Evan Drellich and Ken Rosenthal reported Monday.

MLB's shockingly harsh punishment also requires the Astros to forfeit their first- and second-round picks in both 2020 and 2021 and pay a $5 million fine, the maximum allowed under MLB's constitution, per The Athletic.

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Cora was Houston's bench coach during the Astros' championship 2017 campaign before taking the Boston Red Sox' manager job in 2018. The 2018 Red Sox also are under MLB investigation for their own sign-stealing operation, and his discipline won't be determined until after that investigation is complete, The Athletic reported.

According to ESPN's Jeff Passan, though, Cora could face even more severe repercussions.

That makes sense, considering Cora was Hinch's right-hand man in Houston who apparently played a central role in its sign-stealing operation -- and oversaw a similar operation with Boston in 2018.

The Red Sox said they'll cooperate with MLB's investigation, and it's unclear when the league will hand out its punishment to Boston.

UPDATE (2:45 p.m. ET): MLB is beginning its investigation into the Red Sox on Monday, according to USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale, and Cora is expected to be suspended at least one year.