MLB announces punishment for Red Sox and the 2017 sign-stealing saga

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Posted on: April 23, 2020 5:04 pm EDT

The Red Sox franchise won’t be fined, but the individual at the center of the scandal will pay

A case against the Red Sox and its illegal sign-stealing during the 2018 MLB season finally has a resolution. The MLB, after an exhaustive investigation, has determined a punishment for the baseball team, but the blame was not put on the players or the manager like it was with the Houston Astros this past season. It was instead aimed at J.T. Watkins, the Red Sox’ video replay system operator.

“I find that J.T. Watkins, the Red Sox video replay system operator, on at least some occasions during the 2018 regular season, utilized the game feeds in the replay room, in violation of MLB regulations, to revise sign sequence information that he had permissibly provided to players prior to the game,” the official report stated.

So, in this situation, there was no further communication from the bench to the batters at the plate, like it did happen in the Astros situation. According to the report, Watkins was giving analysis on the opposing teams to the players either prior to the game or “when the Red Sox had a runner on second base.” According to the investigation, that only happened during a small percentage of occasions.

The punishment for this case is not as severe as in other cases since the investigation found that neither Alex Cora nor the players could have known Watkins’ findings. Watkins cannot operate video in the 2021 season and is suspended without pay for the remainder of this season. Also, the team has lost its 2020 second-round pick in the First-Year Player Draft and. Cora’s ban will remain for the whole season, but for the Astro’s case – not this one.