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Major League Baseball fines the Red Sox for the Apple Watch sign stealing incident

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A little over a week ago, the Red Sox were caught stealing signs via instant replay monitoring equipment and the use of Apple watches. They were caught after the Yankees noticed the scheme and reported them to Major League Baseball. In turn, the Red Sox complained that the Yankees had used a YES Network camera to spy on the Red Sox dugout, likely to steal signs as well. Major League Baseball has been investigating and, a few minutes ago, leveled its discipline. From Rob Manfred’s statement:

I have decided to fine the Red Sox an undisclosed amount which in turn will be donated by my office to hurricane relief efforts in Florida.  Moreover, all 30 Clubs have been notified that future violations of this type will be subject to more serious sanctions, including the possible loss of draft picks.

In reaching this decision, Manfred said that the Red Sox immediately stopped using the Apple Watch scheme as soon as they were reported and then cooperated fully with the investigation. He added that “the violation in question occurred without the knowledge of ownership or front office personnel.” He did not say, it should be noted, that it was without the knowledge of manager John Farrell, though Farrell has not been specifically disciplined. Manfred added that, unlike other sign stealing incidents which do not violate baseball’s rules, this one used technology to do so, and that violated then-Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Sandy Alderson’s 2001 memo which prohibited the use of electronic equipment in stealing signs.

Manfred went on and addressed the Red Sox’ claim that the Yankees used cameras to steal signs and found insufficient evidence to discipline them for that. He added something curious however:

“In the course of our investigation, however, we learned that during an earlier championship season (prior to 2017) the Yankees had violated a rule governing the use of the dugout phone.  No Club complained about the conduct in question at the time and, without prompting from another Club or my Office, the Yankees halted the conduct in question.  Moreover, the substance of the communications that took place on the dugout phone was not a violation of any Rule or Regulation in and of itself.  Rather, the violation occurred because the dugout phone technically cannot be used for such a communication.

“Based on the foregoing, I have decided to fine the Yankees a lesser undisclosed amount which in turn will be donated by my office to hurricane relief efforts in Florida.”

Seems odd that he’d reach back to a previous season to discipline sign stealing by the Yankees. Almost as if he wanted to slap both sides in this, regardless. Maybe that’s wise in that it might stop the tit-for-tat stuff the Yankees and Red Sox have apparently been involved in. Still, strange.

This would now seem to be over. The Yankees and Red Sox don’t face each other again during the regular season. They could, however, face each other in the playoffs. I assume both teams will be changing their signs before then.

Report: Orioles interested in Lance Lynn

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The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.

Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.

Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.