MLB Investigation Determines Red Sox Did Not Use Video Room To Steal Signs During 2018 Postseason, World Series
David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports

Months after Major League Baseball launched an investigation into the Houston Astros for their alleged sign stealing, they did the same with the Boston Red Sox, though for the 2018 regular season and postseason.

The investigations were of particularly interest to the Los Angeles Dodgers, as they reached the World Series in 2017 and 2018, only to lose to the Astros and Red Sox, respectively. MLB’s inquiry ultimately found the Astros electronically stole signs en route to winning the title.

However, commissioner Rob Manfred released his long-awaited findings of the Red Sox on Wednesday, and determined they did not operate in as an egregious of manner as the Astros, nor did Boston use their replay room come October and their World Series run.

Manfred ruled that Red Sox video replay system operator J.T. Watkins “on at least some occasions during the 2018 regular season” utilized video feeds in the replay room to decode signs and provide that information to players, which violates MLB’s rules.

Manfred’s report specifically states, “I find that Watkins used in-game video to decode signs during the 2018 regular season only. The evidence uncovered during the investigation is insufficient to conclude that the conduct continued in the 2018 Postseason or 2019 regular season.

“In this regard, it is important to note that, starting with the 2018 Postseason, the
Commissioner’s Office placed full-time in-person monitors in replay rooms (“Video Room Monitors”) to prevent the improper use of video equipment.

“Prior to the Postseason, replay room monitoring by the Commissioner’s Office had taken place only during certain portions of the game because the Video Room Monitor was responsible for both the home and visitors replay rooms and also had other duties.”

Manfred’s findings fall in align with the consistent message from members of the Red Sox organization, and current and former players. Upon being traded to the Dodgers, David Price said he did not anticipate the Red Sox would face any severe punishment.

Furthermore, the Dodgers reportedly checked with MLB prior to moving forward with their trade, and Mookie Betts was cleared.

Watkins was suspended without pay for the 2020 season and 2020 postseason and is prohibited from serving as a replay room operator through all of 2021. No other Red Sox personnel will be disciplined.

Former manager Alex Cora, who was previously found to be one of the masterminds in the Astros’ scheme, was suspended through the 2020 postseason for his involvement in that role.

Lastly, the Red Sox were stripped of their second-round pick in the 2020 MLB Draft.

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