Not so long ago, the sign-stealing scandals in Houston and Boston were dominating the conversation surrounding MLB. That’s changed because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, but MLB has yet to announce any sanctions for the Red Sox, who are alleged to have used the video replay room to steal signs during the 2018 season.
MLB first announced its investigation into the Red Sox back in early January, but recent comments by one of the attorneys for the club suggest that the league has already concluded its probe. During Friday’s oral arguments over whether a lawsuit filed by a group of daily fantasy players over the sign-stealing scandals should be dismissed, the attorney denied that the Red Sox stole signs in violation of the rules. Here’s what Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic writes:
“We do not admit that,” Lauren Moskowitz of Cravath, Swaine & Moore told the judge when he asked her, “Do you admit or not that the Red Sox violated the rules?”
Kaplan also reports on these remarks from Moskowitz during the proceedings:
“Your Honor, I think that there are distinctions between what the Red Sox believe occurred and what the commissioner found. And I think that certainly they’re entitled to disagree that that activity happened at the club level. Certainly, we did find on certain occasions in 2017, that this electronic device was used to communicate sign information.”
Kaplan’s story has more, including comments from MLB’s attorney.
In saying “what the commissioner found” the Red Sox’s attorney seems to suggest that MLB has already concluded its investigation into the matter. MLB back in January handed down punishments for the Astros, and Alex Cora, who was then Houston’s bench coach. Cora was fired as Red Sox manager earlier this offseason because of his involvement in the Astros scandal. That could be what Moskowitz is referring to with her comments about 2017. As noted, the Red Sox investigation was at least initially with regard to their actions during 2018, when they eventually prevailed over the Dodgers in the World Series.
Because MLB is currently in shutdown mode and the coronavirus crisis is growing domestically, commissioner Rob Manfred could be waiting to issue his Red Sox ruling until a more appropriate time. Whatever the specifics, the Red Sox seem to know what’s coming and don’t entirely agree with it, at least if Moskowitz’s comments are an accurate guide.
They’re likely in for stiff penalties. They were previously disciplined for electronic sign-stealing during the 2017 season, and this second alleged offense would likely result in additional sanctions. Also, the consensus public reaction to the Astros’ penalties was that not enough was done, and that could play into Manfred’s ruling, unconsciously or otherwise.