Listen: The Rise and Fall of Baseball's Hottest Young Manager
"So Buster. The Red Sox and Alex Cora mutually parted ways on Tuesday. I think that's what we're calling it. After it was revealed that Cora was an integral part in the illegal sign stealing operation in Houston in two thousand seventeen when he was the astros bench coach. MLB is currently investigating the Red Sox as well to determine whether he implemented similar signs stealing in their twenty eighteen world series winning season season and now we are all awaiting to see what his punishment will be. What was your reaction to the report of his wrongdoing and his subsequent firing well? I wasn't surprised that he wound up leaving from what I understand from talking with sources that he knew as soon soon is the astros fired. Aj hinch and they fired. Jeff Luneau their general manager that his position with the red sox wasn't tenable depressing intimate set in terms. The suspensions and at the very least Alex is going to probably get a year and if they were to stack on the extra counts for the red SOx walks in two thousand eighteen at the end of that investigation. He might even get more time than that and so I think he totally understood that they're in a position where they were going to have have to consider a change. We met with Alex yesterday and everyone went into that meeting trying to answer. The question is what was in the best interest for the Boston. Red Sox Alex was professional understanding that he had made a mistake and and so after a couple of conversations. We all mutually agreed that we needed to part ways. But we do it. Alex feels like to some degree. Sorry that he's leaving on his own terms just as someone who's known for a long time and worked with them. I certainly feel that way a year ago. I think we would talk about about. Alex is being the most powerful manager in baseball and now we don't know if he's ever going to manage the big leagues again. But you worked with him when he was at. ESPN right right right. Worked with him for four years. ESPN did shows with him was around him and then after he left. You know when I would do my work on Sunday night. Baseball all or other type reporting and you talk to him or you're around the red sox and you watched how he interacted with players boy. He ascended so quickly and I can't remember someone who probably was better suited for the position of manager and saying I can't sit here today and predict that he's ever going to manage again in the major leagues seeks buster. What did baseball say that? Alex Cora actually did in Houston that he was essentially at the center of the conversation. An that had begun with Carlos Beltran and some of the players about refining. This science stealing Alex was the one according to the report who ask ask employees to install a monitor that could be used right behind the Astros dug out by the way that monitor was located. Did No more than thirty feet where. Aj hinch their manager was standing. No more than thirty feet were. Alex was doing his work bench coach during the course of the game. So basically everybody knew it was there. Everybody I've heard stories in the last forty eight hours about how members of the Astros have reached out to people though the teams comes after the athletic came out with an initial report and tried to assure peers competitors. Hey don't it wasn't that serious that that story was overblown and then when the report came out with the details the other day there is so much anger there are friendships that are fractured. Because of how some members the Astros not only did they cheat back in two thousand seventeen but in the two months that followed the athletic report. They've been lying. Did their peers about what they were doing. Well Chorus reputation like around baseball before this news. He was known as the guy who would hold things together. During a moment of crisis he took over the national team from Puerto Rico leading in the WBZ. He showed such a great way of dealing with players connecting with people at that time the Puerto Rico national team potentially had three shortstop Havi Abayas. Hi as an Francisco Lindor Carlos Correa and among baseball nerds like myself. We were all wondering like how is. How is Alex GonNa work through those Egos you know? How is he going to convince one guy to be the third baseman who got to be shortstop and one got to be the second basement any did it? And when he was the Astros Bench coach in two thousand thousand seventeen men he made such great connections with Alex Bregman at George Springer. They loved Alex Cora the the players loved Alex other people in Baseball. Absolutely love Alex. When the Red Sox officials who put in this position where they have to fire him they talked about that how much that's regard they have for him and I think that's I has been universal leading up to this whole decision? What was he like as a player at the time he was drafted by the dodgers? He was regarded as an excellent prospect but he never really developed into the consistent offensive player that the dodgers thought he was going to be. He carved out this role through a fourteen year career of being a role player but he was smart guy and was always known like Carlos. Beltran is someone who it was really good at ascertaining what the other team was doing with it signs for decades there was an accepted form of stealing signed and that would be the runner standing at second base and figuring out what the catcher signs were there with a lien or with the placement of a hand on a knee they could could convey to the hitter. What the next pitch was? And that's the reputation that he developed early on so he was signed stealing back that he was good. Good at picking up on Pitch Tipping. I'm sure as smart as Alex is. As much experience he had in baseball. He was tremendous. It picked up signs when leading off at second base and potentially relaying back to the hitter so despite that science stealing ability outscore score never really broke through as a player he retired in two thousand eleven as a career to forty three hitter but in twenty sixteen buster he returns to the Big Leagues Leagues as the Astros Bench Coach now Houston is known as extremely progressive forward thinking organization. How much were analytic Atlantic's and video? Apart of course coaching methods it was a lot in terms of what he was responsible for with defensive positioning. I've had conversations with Alex when we would talk about an infielder. Who may be wasn't that good and didn't have that much range and Alex would give me awake and say he'll be fine? We'll put them in the right place. That's part of what he excelled at when he was with the Astros putting a guy in the right spot to make a play a now the Astros under Jeff Luneau always had a rule that reporters could not talk to coaches. They're only organization baseball. That I know of that made that rule. I think in part because they wanted to protect their information. They didn't want the coaches talking about what they were doing. But I think Alex like Brent Strom their pitching coach. Aj hinch. They got a lot of information. A lot of feedback from the front office that they wound up using the culture in the organization has come under a lot of scrutiny really for months now. The commissioner statements singled out. Do you think Cora felt built enabled. Perhaps by the Astros focus on winning at all costs absolutely when you look back at the history of the Astros after Jeff Luneau took over. Boy does this seem inevitable. 'cause I mean they SP- have absolutely skirted right at the edge of of competitive propriety. All the way through when you think about what happened when Jeff took over the team. Not only did they tank. They tanked in a way that no one had ever seen before in baseball. You know in one year I think it was two thousand thousand thirteen. They cut their payroll down to the point. Where only one player on the team at the end of the year was making over a million dollars? One player I know what the commissioner said about the word tanking but I can tell you privately so many executives at that time. We're going to see what they're doing. They are absolutely they're not even pretending to. I have a representative major league product. It was clear from their actions. Then that so long as you wound up winning and you got the number one pick and and you pick Carlos Correa or you wind up with Alex Bregman. That would justify what they did. That same sort of mentality was in play during the stealing stuff"