Breaking News: MLB Commission Manfred reports on the Red Sox sign-stealing and punishments

William Parlee
Dec 10, 2019; San Diego, CA, USA; MLB commissioner Rob Manfred speaks to the media before announcing the All-MLB team during the MLB Winter Meetings at Manchester Grand Hyatt. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sport

MLBs ruling on the Boston Red Sox’s illegal sign stealing in 2018 determined the primary culprit was not the front office, manager Alex Cora or the players, but the team’s video replay system operator.  The New York Yankees suffered from a possible World Series bid during the 2017 season by the Astros illegal sign-stealing and may have lost some games to the Red Sox in 2018 due to the video replay operator.

The MLB findings were released this afternoon and suspended Red Sox video operator J.T. Watkins for the remainder of the 2020 season and that he may not hold the position in the 2021 season as well.  It suspended Alex Cora through the end of the 2020 season, although not for anything he did in the 2018 Red Sox season, but for his participation in the 2017 Houston Astros season.  His suspension is a moot point as he was fired by the Red Sox whent he Astros sign stealing scandal was revealed.

The Red Sox for their part in sign-stealing they will loose a second-round pick in the 2020 draft. Following a January report from The Athletic on the Red Sox’s conduct, Commissioner Rob Manfred found that Watkins, on at least some occasions during the 2018 regular season, illegally utilized game feeds in the replay room to help players during games — an undertaking less egregious than the Astros’ famed 2017 sign-stealing scheme.

Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement:

“The club must be held accountable, particularly since the club may have benefited from Watkins’ conduct.”