MLB Strips Red Sox of Draft Picks & Suspends Staffer For 1 Year
While the Houston Astros were the centerpiece of MLB's sign-stealing scandal, the Boston Red Sox did not have clean hands either.
Today, MLB announced a one-year suspension without pay of Red Sox replay operator J.T. Watkins, and stripped the team of their 2nd round draft pick this year.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said Watkins used game feeds in the replay room during the 2018 season to make alterations to sign sequence information and provide the intel to Red Sox players before games. It's a violation of MLB regulations.
However, Manfred added managers, front office personnel, and the majority of Red Sox players likely did not know Watkins acquired his intel illegally, and the whole operation was limited to Watkins and a few players, who were not named.
Boston's illegal use to the replay room equipment to steal signs was "far more limited in scope and impact" compared to the Houston Astros sign-stealing saga, according to Manfred.
Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy released the following statement on the subject matter:
"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."