Alex Cora was open and direct with the media during his tenure with the Boston Red Sox.
... In light of recent news, perhaps a little too open.
The Red Sox and Cora parted ways Tuesday after Major League Baseball found that Cora played a central role in the Houston Astros' sign-stealing operation as bench coach during the 2017 season.
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As that news broke, internet sleuths dug through Cora's past Red Sox press conferences to get a sense of his attitude toward sign-stealing ... and stumbled upon on a gold mine.
Here's a clip from Cora's press conference on June 30, 2019, after Boston lost both of its London Series games to the rival New York Yankees. For context: The Yankees had hired Carlos Beltran -- who was on that 2017 Astros team and is close friends with Cora -- as a special adviser prior to the 2019 season.
"I was joking with somebody that their biggest free-agent acquisition is Carlos Beltran," Cora said, adding a blatant wink. "I know how he works. He's helped them a lot."
That was in reference to the Yankees lighting up Red Sox pitching by scoring 29 runs over two games. If you read between the lines, you could assume Cora was suggesting Beltran, who's now the manager of the New York Mets, took his sign-swiping knowledge from Houston to New York to help the Yankees get an edge.
Cora made those lines a little clearer by mentioning sign-stealing "devices" without any prompting.
"They're very into details, and we have to clean our details," Cora said. "It was eye-opening, the last two days, from top to bottom.
"I'm not saying devices, all that stuff. It's just stuff that the game will dictate. And we'll scream at people, and it's right there."
What's screaming at people now is that Beltran was the only player MLB named in its report implicating the Astros, meaning he likely worked very closely with Cora to help Houston steal signs.
So, did Beltran help the Yankees steal signs like Cora apparently helped the Red Sox, who are under investigation for illegally using a video replay room during the 2018 season?
We may not find out, as Beltran avoided any punishment from MLB for his role in Houston. But if MLB decides to dig further into what appears to be a rampant sign-stealing problem in baseball, Beltran's job with the Mets may be at risk.
Did Alex Cora insinuate that Carlos Beltran helped Yankees steal signs? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston