MLB issues severe penalty to Astros; Alex Cora reportedly expected to face 'harsh' punishment

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Major League Baseball has concluded its investigation into the Astros' sign-stealing, and it is not messing around when it comes to discipline.

Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch have each been suspended for one year, the league announced. In addition, MLB has fined the Astros $5 million and taken away their first- and second-round picks in both the 2020 and 2021 MLB Drafts. 

Update: Astros owner Jim Crane has fired both Luhnow and Hinch.

Jim Crane says Jeff Luhnow and A.J. Hinch have been dismissed.

— Jake Kaplan (@jakemkaplan) January 13, 2020

Now, the bad news for the Red Sox. The report from the league names manager Alex Cora, who was the Astros' bench coach at the time of their sign-stealing, as a key force in setting up Houston's sign-stealing, saying Cora "was involved in developing both the banging scheme and utilizing the replay review room to decode and transmit signs."

(Click here to read Manfred's full report.)

MLB did not punish Cora as part of its release Monday, but the statement from commissioner Rob Manfred says the league will determine Cora's discipline after the conclusion of its investigation into allegations of the Red Sox stealing signs during the 2018 season.

According to ESPN's Jeff Passan, Cora is expected to face "harsh" punishment. Now the question is whether the Red Sox will as an organization, as well.

No players were disciplined by Major League Baseball in the Astros' investigation. While Mets manager Carlos Beltran was part of it, he was a player at the time and thus was not suspended.Discipline for Red Sox manager Alex Cora is coming. It is going to be harsh, per sources.

— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 13, 2020

From the commissioner's report ... pic.twitter.com/Nrp24cJoCe

— Rob Bradford (@bradfo) January 13, 2020