MLB Punishes Red Sox In Sign Stealing Scandal

Ruben Hill
April 30, 2020

On Wednesday Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic reported the penalties that Boston was getting hit with.

Following the Astros being exposed for cheating and that whole drama, focus turned to the Red Sox, who were also being investigated and were of particular interest because Alex Cora is a common factor. This isn't exactly a hash punishment from Major League Baseball as the suspension of Cora was already expected due to his involvement in the Astros incident.

"I am relieved that these Major League Baseball investigations are concluded and that Commissioner Manfred released his finding that I did not violate any Major League Baseball rules as a member of the Red Sox organization in 2018 or 2019".

However the Red Sox's conduct in 2018 came under scrutiny after reports earlier this year that the team had improperly used video feeds in the replay room to help players during games.

Cora and former Astros veteran player Carlos Beltran were named as key individuals in the Astros' scheme, which involved illegal use of technology to steal signs of opposing teams and relay them to Houston batters in real time.

In addition to the suspension, Watkins is banned from serving as a replay-room operator for the 2021 season and playoffs. The Red Sox selected the former catcher in the 10th round of that year's MLB Draft, and he played in Boston's minor league system until 2015.

Despite the report's finding of wrongdoing by the Red Sox, Henry expressed his hope that the organization's reputation would not be tainted. Watkins was found to be guilty of messing with the team's video replay system. But would the Red Sox consider pivoting back to Cora when his suspension expires? The loss of the pick drops the Red Sox's available bonus pool in a five-round draft from $6,514,300 to $5,111,100. However, a "smaller number of players", the report states, noted Watkins occasionally provided different sign sequence information during games than he did prior to the start of games and suspected he gleaned the new information from the use of live, in-game video.

Many players told my investigators that they were unaware that in-game sign decoding from the replay station had been prohibited in 2018 and 2019.

Red Sox president Sam Kennedy and general manager Brian O'Halloran said on a conference call with reporters that the club would take no further action against Watkins beyond the punishment issued by the Commissioner.

The Red Sox's punishment comes three months after the league disciplined the Astros.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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