Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred finally issued a ruling Wednesday after a lengthy investigation into allegations the Boston Red Sox illegally stole signs during the 2018 season.
MLB suspended J.T. Watkins, the Red Sox’s video replay system operator, without pay for the entire 2020 season and docked Boston a second-round pick in the 2020 draft.
The league also suspended former Red Sox manager Alex Cora for the entire 2020 season, but only for his conduct as the Houston Astros’ bench coach in 2017, not for anything he did as Boston’s skipper in 2018.
“I do not find that then-Manager Alex Cora, the Red Sox coaching staff, the Red Sox front office, or most of the players on the 2018 Red Sox knew or should have known that Watkins was utilizing in-game video to update the information that he had learned from his pregame analysis,” MLB’s report reads. “Communication of these violations was episodic and isolated to Watkins and a limited number of Red Sox players only.”
No Red Sox personnel will be disciplined other than Watkins, who will be prohibited from serving as a replay room operator for the 2021 season and postseason, as well.
“Although the Commissioner’s Office agreed not to discipline players who were truthful in their interviews, based on the findings of the investigation, this is not a case in which I would have otherwise considered imposing discipline on players,” MLB’s report reads.
Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy issued the following statement Wednesday in response to MLB’s report:
“As an organization, we strive for 100% compliance with the rules. MLB’s investigation concluded that in isolated instances during the 2018 regular season, sign sequences were decoded through the use of live game video rather than through permissible means.
“MLB acknowledged the front office’s extensive efforts to communicate and enforce the rules and concluded that Alex Cora, the coaching staff, and most of the players did not engage in, nor were they aware of, any violations. Regardless, these rule violations are unacceptable. We apologize to our fans and Major League Baseball, and accept the Commissioner’s ruling.”