Red Sox Part Ways With Alex Cora

The Red Sox and manager Alex Cora have mutually agreed to part ways, per a team release.

This news comes in the wake of the Houston Astros firing general manager Jeff Lunhow and manager AJ Hinch on Monday after both were handed down one-year suspensions by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred for the roles they played in Houston’s sign-stealing scandal during the 2017 season.

Cora, who served as Hinch’s bench coach in 2017, played a key role in, “developing both the banging scheme and utilizing the replay review room to decode and transmit sign,” according to Manfred.

Because of this, the Astros were stripped of their 2020 and 2021 first and second-round picks and fined $5 million.

Although Major League Baseball’s investigation into the Red Sox’ use of illegally decoding signs through the club’s video replay room during the 2018 season is still ongoing, it is believed that Cora is facing ‘harsh’ discipline, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

In his two seasons at the helm with Boston, Cora led the Sox to a historic 119-win season capped off by the club clinching their ninth World Series title in 2018 and followed that with a sub-par 84-win campaign last year.

“I want to thank John, Tom, Sam, the players, our coaching staff and the entire Red Sox organization,” Cora said in a statement Tuesday. “I especially want to thank my family for their love and support.

“I do not want to be a distraction to the Red Sox as they move forward,” added Cora. My two years as manager were the best years of my life. It was an honor to manage these teams and help bring a World Series Championship back to Boston. I will forever be indebted to the organization and the fans who supported me as a player, a manager and in my efforts to help Puerto Rico.

“This is a special place. There is nothing like it in all of baseball, and I will miss it dearly,” he concluded.

Now just about a month out from when pitchers and catchers are due to report in at Fenway South in Fort Myers, Sox ownership and chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom have found themselves in quite the predicament with no manager currently in place.

Ron Roenicke, who served as Cora’s bench coach the last two seasons and has managerial experience with the Milwaukee Brewers from 2011 until 2015, is an obvious candidate. He is scheduled to attend Red Sox Winter Weekend at MGM Springfield.

In a span of four months, the Red Sox have parted ways with both the architect and leader of their 2018 World Series-winning team in Dave Dombrowski and Cora.

Now, as the 2020 season looms, turbulent times may be on the horizon with plenty of decisions still to make.

Red Sox Catching Prospect Elih Marrero Suspended 50 Games

Red Sox catching prospect Elih Marrero has been handed down a 50-game suspension by Major League Baseball for violating the Minor League Drug Treatment and Prevention Program. Per a press release, the 22-year-old tested positive for the banned stimulant Amphetamine.

Selected by Boston in the eighth round of the 2018 amateur draft out of St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens, Fla, Marrero slashed .205/.267/.311/ with one home run and 18 RBI over 35 games between Low-A Lowell and High-A Salem this past season.

Per SoxProspects.com, Marrero is ranked as the No. 6 catching prospect in the Sox’ farm system.

With Salem placing Marrero on the restricted list Friday, the switch hitting backstop is set to miss the first 50 games of their season, meaning he would not be eligibe to return until late May.

Originally drafted by the Cincinnati Reds out of Coral Gables High School back in 2015, Marrero is the son of longtime major-league catcher Eli Marrero, who spent parts of 10 big-league seasons between the St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Royals, Baltimore Orioles, Colorado Rockies and New York Mets.

#RedSox’ Steven Wright Suspended 80 Games for Violating MLB’s Performance-Enhancing Drug Policy

On Wednesday, the Red Sox announced via a press release that right-hander Steven Wright has been suspended 80 games for violating Major League Baseball’s performance-enhancing drug policy.

The knuckleballer apparently tested positive for Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide 2, which according to the league’s prohibited substances list, is banned from use.

According to The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham, Wright failed the drug test during the offseason, but his appeal was just rejected this Tuesday, hence the sudden announcement.

Abraham also notes that Wright denied taking any PEDs knowingly and did not inform the Red Sox of his then-pending suspension until last week.

This suspension marks Wright’s second suspension in the last two years, with the first stemming from a domestic assault arrest in December of 2017. He was handed down a 15-game suspension for violating the league’s domestic violence policy last March.

When asked about the suspension, which broke right as the Red Sox were wrapping up a Grapefruit League contest up against the Pittsburgh Pirates, manager Alex Cora voiced as much displeasure as he was allowed to towards his pitcher.

“Obviously disappointed,” Cora said. “We’ll give the player the support that he needs. He’s still part of the organization. That’s all I can say about it.”

When asked about it himself, Wright said, “It’s unfortunate. There’s no easy way to dance around it. It sucks. It’s gonna suck. But at the end of the day, I’ve got to serve the suspension and just move on.”

Wright, 34, will start the season on the restricted list for the second consecutive year. He will be eligible to return to the Red Sox in late June and will be ineligible for the postseason.

Here’s the full statement from the club I mentioned earlier:

“The Boston Red Sox fully support Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program and its efforts to eliminate performance-enhancing substances from the game. While we are disappointed by the news of this violation, we will look to provide the appropriate support to Steven at this time. Going forward, the club will not comment further on the matter.”

 

 

 

#RedSox #1 Prospect Michael Chavis Has Been Suspened 80 Games for PED Use.

Statement from Chavis:

Well, this news stinks. The number one prospect in the Red Sox organization, Michael Chavis, has been suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball for the use of PEDs. Chavis, 22, tested positive for the drug Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone this past offseason, and will not receive pay while he is suspended.

Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone is a drug players have tested positive for in the past. Just two seasons ago, Massachusetts native Chris Colabello, then with the Toronto Blue Jays, received an 80 game suspension for testing positive for the same drug.

Chavis has stated that he was not aware of taking any banned substance, but that doesn’t matter now. Already blocked by Rafael Devers at the major league level, the third baseman will miss out on a chance to further develop at first base, which he had been doing, and garner any sort of trade interest from other teams.

Having been in the Red Sox farm system for nearly four years, I found this news to be quite disappointing. It took some time, but last season was the best one Chavis has had as a minor leaguer, as he posted a career high .910 OPS between Single A Salem and Double A Portland. Could he have been using then? Probably, his numbers don’t look so great if you take away what he did in 59 games with Salem to start the 2017 season. Now, he’ll have to wait until sometime in July until he can take the field again in an organized game.

2016 first round pick Jay Groome takes over as the number one prospect in the Red Sox organization, if that’s how the rankings work.