Red Sox

MLB released its report on the Red Sox’ sign-stealing investigation

Penalties include loss of a 2020 draft pick, and a ban for team replay operator J.T. Watkins.

Alex Cora remains banned for the 2020 season, but for his actions as a member of the 2017 Astros and not for his time in Boston. Barry Chin/Globe Staff file

Major League Baseball released its long awaited report looking into allegations of Red Sox sign-stealing during the 2018 season.

According to the report, the following penalties were issued against the Red Sox:

  • Loss of a 2020 second-round pick
  • Replay operator J.T. Watkins is banned through the 2020 playoffs, and cannot return to the same role with the team in 2021
  • Alex Cora remains banned for the 2020 season, though the punishment pertains to his activities in Houston in 2017, not with Boston in 2018

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said he interviewed 65 people in his investigation, including 34 past and present members of the Red Sox.

He stated that the Red Sox sign-stealing, involving the role of Watkins to use video technology in the replay room, was more limited than the Astros’ scheme.

“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’ conduct, by its very nature, was far more limited in scope and impact,” Manfred wrote.


The Red Sox issued the following statement:

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.

The investigation was the result of a report from The Athletic in January alleging that the Red Sox illegally stole signs using the video replay room during the 2018 season (which culminated with a World Series win). On Jan. 14, the Red Sox fired Cora for his role in the Houston sign-stealing controversy.

The wait for the league investigation into the Red Sox took far longer than was initially expected. The report was supposed to come out in February, but was delayed.

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