Read Entire MLB Report On Boston Red Sox Investigation
David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball announced their findings after investigating the Boston Red Sox for alleged misconduct with their video replay room, which commissioner Rob Manfred determined did take place under the lead of replay system operator J.T. Watkins.

However, Manfred also found that the level to which the Red Sox violated MLB’s rules was not hear that of the Houston Astros. Particularly with Manfred noting there was not any evidence of the Red Sox carrying out their scheme during the 2018 postseason or World Series, when they defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“I find that unlike the Houston Astros’ 2017 conduct, in which players communicated to the batter from the dugout area in real time the precise type of pitch about to be thrown, Watkins’s conduct, by its very nature, was far more limited in scope and impact,” Manfred wrote.

“The information was only relevant when the Red Sox had a runner on second base (which was 19.7% of plate appearances leaguewide in 2018), and Watkins communicated sign sequences in a manner that indicated that he had decoded them from the in-game feed in only a small
percentage of those occurrences.”

[Read MLB’s 15-page findings here]

As such, Boston as a collective organization received light penalties. Of course, there was plenty of public outcry when Astros players were not punished or so much as stripped of their World Series rings.

Manfred isn’t facing quite as much scrutiny a second time around, but questions are again being raised over the punishments, or lack thereof.

Watkins was suspended without pay for the 2020 regular season and postseason, and he is prohibited from serving as a replay room operator for all of 2021. Former Red Sox manager Alex Cora was suspended through the 2020 postseason, but for his role in the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal.

Lastly, the Red Sox were stripped of their second-round pick in the 2020 MLB Draft. Manfred explicitly wrote no other Red Sox personnel would be punished, and while players were granted immunity in exchange for cooperation, findings from the investigation did not lend to consideration for discipline of any of them.

The end result mirrors what many with the Red Sox long anticipated. Members of their front office maintained the organization would essentially be cleared of wrongdoing, and more recently David Price voiced a similar belief and 2018 World Series MVP Steve Pearce asserted the team defeated the Dodgers in a fair manner.

Joe Kelly, who like Price was a member of the Red Sox championship team and now is with the Dodgers, deemed it all but impossible for any misconduct to occur during the playoffs because of the presence of MLB officials.

“It’s virtually impossible for any kind of suspected cheating to happen, especially in the postseason,” he said at Dodgers FanFest.

“Especially in ’18, it’s kind of like escaping Alcatraz — it’s pretty hard to do something, especially in the playoffs. Honestly I don’t know about ’17. I just know, remembering from ’18, that I would walk into the clubhouse wondering who all these randoms were.

“And I’m a loud guy, so I would make it known. I thought they were CDT (Comprehensive Drug Testing) at first. So I could base my answer on ’18. It would be something that I kind of want to know (if the Red Sox cheated), honestly.”

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