LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 28: Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora speaks with members of the media during a press conference ahead of the MLB London Series games between Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees at London Stadium on June 28, 2019 in London, England.
(Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

The Boston Red Sox’s punishment for sign-stealing was nothing compared to that of the Houston Astros earlier this year.

The Boston Red Sox sign-stealing punishment has finally been announced and Alex Cora is in the middle of it all.

According to Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic, Boston will suffer the following penalties:

“I find that unlike the Houston Astros’ 2017 conduct, in which players communicated to the batter from the dugout area in real time the precise type of pitch about to be thrown, Watkins’ conduct, by its very nature, was far more limited in scope and impact,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred wrote in his report.

Moreover, as Rosenthal and Drellich reported, it was made crystal clear that Cora’s punishment was only for his actions as bench coach of the Houston Astros. In 2017, he was instrumental in the team’s sign-stealing scandal that triggered a separate investigation. Considering the Astros’ punishment, which wound up costing general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch their jobs, Boston’s is fairly light.

JB’s take

My personal feelings about the Boston Red Sox aside, this punishment is basically what was expected. Keep in mind, it was established very early on Boston’s system was anywhere close to Houston’s level of cheating. While the Astros banged on a trash can to communicate pitches to players, the Red Sox really just abused the use of the replay room.

In practice, a Red Sox hitter would reach second base. At that point, after picking up the signs from the replay room, a signal would be made to the baserunner. In turn, he would then alert the man up to bat.

Is it shady that the Red Sox were using the replay room to steal signs? Absolutely. It was egregious enough that the man in charge of it is banned for the season. On top of that, he won’t be working the same job again.

And even the New York media agrees. On The Michael Kay Show, Kay himself said Boston was just participating in gamesmanship. Granted, it’s a thin line, but it’s still nothing compared to what the Astros did.

Are there going to be some die-hard New York Yankees fans who think the Boston Red Sox got off with nothing? Of course. Every fan base has that vocal minority. In this case, expect the noise to fade quickly.

The bottom line is though the Boston Red Sox did technically cheat, they weren’t blatantly flouting the rules. All in all, this punishment fits the crime.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.