Major League Baseball is investigating the Boston Red Sox over an alleged sign-stealing scheme that has been compared to the one the Houston Astros were found guilty of implementing in 2017, but the two situations may not be as similar as many believe.
According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, the investigation into the Red Sox is nearing its conclusion and has found “far less serious” violations than the Astros probe.
To be fair, have heard latest investigation into Red Sox will find far less serious transgressions than were found with Astros. Ruling could come next week (or perhaps slightly after)
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 8, 2020
That could mean less serious sanctions are coming for Boston. The Astros were fined $5 million and both manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were suspended for a year. Houston fired Hinch and Luhnow. Alex Cora was a bench coach with the Astros when they were illegally stealing signs in 2017, and both Luhnow and MLB’s report made Cora sound like the mastermind behind the operation. Cora was not suspended since MLB wanted to wait until the Red Sox investigation was complete, but Boston still parted ways with its former manager.
The Red Sox have been accused of illegally using the video replay room to help steal signs, and apparently they were not the only team that did that. The biggest question will likely be whether or not they continued to do it after MLB made it clear to teams that it was not allowed.
Like with the Houston investigation, all indications have been that no Red Sox players will face discipline. Based on Heyman’s report, it sounds like the sanctions for the team could be far less serious overall.
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The Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers had a trade in place involving Mookie Betts on Tuesday, but within days, the third part of the deal more or less fell apart.
The Red Sox were slated to acquire Alex Verdugo from the Dodgers and top prospect Brusdar Graterol from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for Betts and David Price. That trade stalled when the Red Sox voiced concerns over Graterol’s medical records, and they attempted to get a second prospect from the Twins. Minnesota has not been willing to significantly renegotiate their end of the deal, and that portion of the trade looks to be on life support as a result.
The deal was widely criticized by fans and players alike, with many stating that it looked like a salary dump and the Red Sox failed to get a fair return for an MVP-caliber outfielder, even if Betts is headed into the final year of his contract.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, some involved in the trade talks believe that Red Sox ownership became wary of criticism of the original deal.
Real question is what #RedSox want. #MNTwins could send Graterol and lesser prospect to #Dodgers, then LAD could flip Graterol and a better prospect to BOS. But some in talks sense that negative media reaction to Verdugo-Graterol return for Betts-Price gave BOS ownership pause.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 8, 2020
If this is part of the reason, it would be a terrible look for the Red Sox, but Rosenthal makes it sound like a possible explanation. Boston’s issues with Graterol came about suddenly, especially when they already would have known he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2016. It’s easy to understand why the Twins were very reluctant to negotiate when Boston suddenly sought another prospect. As unpopular as the original deal may have been, it’s not likely they can make a good one, as many Red Sox fans are simply opposed to trading Betts in the first place.
A key portion of the Mookie Betts trade has reportedly fallen through.
According to LaVelle Neal of the StarTribune, the Minnesota Twins are pulling out of a three-team deal that would have sent Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Twins were poised to give up top prospect Brusdar Graterol while receiving Kenta Maeda from the Dodgers. The Red Sox took issue with Graterol’s medicals and demanded another player from the Twins.
On Saturday, after little progress was made in negotiations, the Twins made clear they would not be changing their end of the deal. However, a differing report from Alden Gonzalez says the Twins have not backed out.
Twins have not backed out of initial 3-team trade that would send Mookie Betts to the Dodgers, I'm told. They are willing to renegotiate and attempt to work through it, though whether it ultimately gets figured out is uncertain. All sides want a resolution by reporting date.
— Alden Gonzalez (@Alden_Gonzalez) February 8, 2020
It seems Minnesota is playing hardball and saying they won’t give up anyone else.
The Twins backing out would mean the Red Sox and Dodgers would need to either make a deal directly or find a replacement team for the Twins to net the Red Sox the other prospect they seek. The Sox were preparing for this possibility on Friday, so there is a chance the deal will still be salvaged.
The terms of the original deal were reported Tuesday, and everything has been in a holding pattern since then. The Twins will miss a chance to upgrade their rotation, but will be able to hold onto a top pitching prospect. The Red Sox and Dodgers, however, are left scrambling to salvage a deal that both teams are motivated to make.
The Boston Red Sox have yet to finalize the trade that was supposed to send Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and they may have to find a new third team to bring into the mix in order to complete the deal.
The Red Sox were supposed to get 21-year-old pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol from the Minnesota Twins as part of the Betts deal, but Ken Rosenthal reported on Wednesday that Boston was unhappy with what they found in Graterol’s medical records. Now, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that the Red Sox are trying to get an additional prospect from the Twins, but Minnesota is not having it.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 7, 2020
The complications have led to talk that the Betts deal may be nixed, but the Red Sox and Dodgers both appear committed to making sure it happens. Heyman adds that the two teams have been exploring ways to complete the deal without the Twins if need be.
There’s been a lot of back and forth between Red Sox and Twins to try to wrap up the Mookie mega deal. And just in case, the Red Sox and Dodgers are also looking at ways to do deal without the Twins, either directly or by using a different 3rd team.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 7, 2020
Obviously, the situation is less than ideal. It’s unclear why the Red Sox suddenly became concerned about Graterol’s medical records, as they knew he had Tommy John surgery in 2016. Skeptics have argued that Boston is trying to save face after fans and analysts bashed them for getting so little in return for Betts and David Price, who is also supposed to be heading to the Dodgers. We know at least one Red Sox player who would probably be thrilled if the deal fell through.
Depending upon who you believe, the Boston Red Sox may or may not have settled on a new manager.
Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reported on Friday morning that the Red Sox are planning to name Ron Roenicke their manager as soon as Major League Baseball concludes its investigation into the sign-stealing allegations against the team. Roenicke was Boston’s bench coach for the last two seasons under Alex Cora. However, the Red Sox issued a statement on Friday denying that they have completed their managerial search.
From the Red Sox: “Our managerial search is not yet completed. We will comment at the completion of the search.”
— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) February 7, 2020
Keep in mind that Red Sox owner John Henry also owns the Boston Globe, so the Red Sox are throwing cold water on a report that one of their own employees put out, essentially.
According to a separate report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Red Sox interviewed former Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons earlier in the week.
Former #BlueJays manager John Gibbons interviewed for #RedSox vacancy earlier this week, source tells The Athletic. Report from @PeteAbe says Sox plan to hire Ron Roenicke. Per @ChrisCotillo, team issued statement saying search is not yet complete.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 7, 2020
It’s possible that Abraham has inside information that the Red Sox did not want getting out, especially if they are waiting for MLB to conclude its investigation. Roenicke denied last month that he had knowledge of any sign-stealing, but he was with the team during the season in question. That could be why Boston prefers to wait until MLB issues its findings in the investigation.
There was some talk that the Red Sox might bring back a former fan favorite to manage the team now that Cora has been fired, but that is not going to happen. Depending upon what MLB’s investigation finds, some wonder if Boston could even bring Cora back at some point.
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The Boston Red Sox are being investigated over allegations that they illegally used electronics to steal signs, and it sounds like Major League Baseball is handling the investigation the same way the league carried out its probe of the Houston Astros.
No players were disciplined after it was determined that the Astros had an elaborate sign-stealing scheme in place during their World Series season in 2017, and that’s because the players were granted immunity by MLB for providing information about the system. According to Mark Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, the same was offered to Red Sox players.
On another hot topic, MLB commissioner Manfred said he is aiming to complete #RedSox investigation before camps open, as with #Astros probe players were given immunity to get info, there will be new guidelines this season on use of video
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) February 6, 2020
Alex Cora, who was a bench coach in Houston in 2017, was not suspended when the findings were announced from the Houston investigation. However, that is only because MLB was waiting to see if he may have been guilty of additional infractions in Boston. The Red Sox have already fired Cora, which gives you an idea of the direction they believe the investigation is headed.
ESPN’s Buster Olney said recently that MLB is investigating “something specific” with the Red Sox, and there’s a feeling around the league that they were guilty of something.
"This is what I've heard from folks with knowledge of the questions that they're asking, that there is a feeling among them that they have something [on the Sox] … that there's something specific that they're working on"
— OMF (@OMFonWEEI) January 30, 2020
The Red Sox have been accused of illegally using the video replay room at Fenway Park to help decode opponents’ signals and relay them to hitters. MLB took steps to prevent teams from being able to engage in practices like that, which seems to prove the league knew about what was going on before the whistle was blown on both the Astros and Red Sox.
While it is widely assumed that the Red Sox are going to face a similar punishment to Houston, JD Martinez said recently that he believes MLB is going to determine there was nothing going on in Boston.
- Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox may now be posturing in order to get their way in the Mookie Betts trade.
MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported on Thursday that the Red Sox are trying to get more in the deal and that the trade is “not a certainty.”
Red Sox are said to be trying to reconfigure the part of the Betts 3-team deal with the Twins (meaning more than Graterol). While there’s still hope the mega deal gets done in some form, some involved are now suggesting it’s not a certainty.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 7, 2020
Word emerged from Ken Rosenthal on Wednesday night that there was a snag in the trade after the Red Sox took issue with what they found in Brusdar Graterol’s medical records. Graterol is a 21-year-old pitcher who had Tommy John surgery in 2016 and dealt with a shoulder impingement last year.
The Red Sox reportedly felt Graterol was more suited for a relief pitcher role rather than a starting pitcher role after reviewing his records, which makes them believe he is less valuable than they thought and that they should be getting more. Skeptics feel like Boston is trying to save face after being criticized for getting so little in return for the 2018 AL MVP and David Price.