NEW YORK — The Boston Red Sox were stripped of their second-round pick in this year’s amateur draft by Major League Baseball for breaking video rules in 2018 and former manager Alex Cora was suspended through the 2020 postseason for his previous conduct as bench coach with the Houston Astros.
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced his decision Wednesday, concluding Red Sox replay system operator J.T. Watkins used in-game video to revise sign sequences provided to players. Watkins was suspended without pay through this year’s postseason and prohibited from serving as the replay room operator through the 2021.
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.
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.
Manfred said Cora did not know and had no reason to know of Watkins’ conduct. Cora left Houston after the 2017 season and managed the Red Sox to the 2018 title.
Fallout from the January penalties caused Cora and newly hired New York Mets manager Carlos Beltrán to lose their jobs. Cora and Beltrán, the senior player on the 2017 Astros, were the key individuals in a scheme to place a camera near Houston’s dugout and have players bang on a trash can to signal breaking pitchers.