UPDATE: CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that Taijuan Walker was in the deal, as well as Nick Franklin and two others.
8:29 PM: Scott Miller of CBSSports.com reports that the D-Backs would have received three or four players in return for Upton, including relievers Charlie Furbush and Stephen Pryor, prospect infielder Nick Franklin and likely one of Taijuan Walker, James Paxton or Danny Hultzen. Alas, no deal.
8:07 PM: ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Mariners, Blue Jays, Red Sox and Cubs are on Upton’s no-trade list. It’s possible he included some of those teams for leverage, not because he wouldn’t go there. But Seattle doesn’t look like a fit.
7:12 PM: Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic confirms Rosenthal’s report and adds that the proposed package from the Mariners was “substantial.”
7:10 PM: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Diamondbacks were in agreement on a trade that would have sent Justin Upton to the Mariners, but that the outfielder rejected the proposed deal.
The Mariners are one of four teams on Upton’s no-trade list. Players often waive their no-trade rights if they are compensated in some way, but it appears that he just doesn’t want to play in Seattle. Of course, coming back to Arizona would now be pretty awkward, too. The Rangers and Braves are still interested, so chances are the D-Backs will continue to shop him.
Rosenthal hears that the Diamondbacks would have received a package of young players in return for Upton, but their identities aren’t known. As our own Matthew Pouliot speculates, it’s likely that names like Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen, Nick Franklin, Carter Capps and Stephen Pryor could have been discussed.
We’ve had a couple of notable incidents of sign stealing in Major League Baseball over the past couple of years. Most famously, the Red Sox were found to be using Apple Watches of all things to relay signs spied via video feed. Sports Illustrated reported yesterday that there have been other less-publicized and unpublicized incidents as well, mostly with in-house TV cameras — as opposed to network TV cameras — stationed in the outfield and trained on catchers, for the specific purpose of stealing signs.
As such, SI reports, Major League Baseball is cracking down beginning this year. Within the next couple weeks an already-drafted and circulated rule will take effect which will (a) ban in-house outfield cameras from foul pole to foul pole; (b) will limit live broadcasts available to teams to the team’s replay official only, and the replay official will be watched by a league official to keep them from relaying signs to the team; and (c) other TV monitors that are available to the clubs will be on an eight-second delay to prevent real-time sign stealing. There will likewise be limits on TV monitors showing the game feed in certain places like tunnels and clubhouses.
Penalties for violation of the rules will include the forfeiting of draft picks and/or international spending money. General managers will have to sign a document in which they swear they know of know sign-stealing schemes.
As was the case when the Apple Watch incident came up, there will not be any new rules regarding old fashioned sign stealing by runners on second base or what have you, as that is viewed as part of the game. Only the technology-aided sign stealing that has become more prominent in recent years — but which has, of course, existed in other forms for a very, very long time — is subject to the crackdown.
While gamesmanship of one form or another has always been part of baseball, the current wave of sign-stealing is seen as a pace-of-play issue just as much as a fairness issue. Because of the actual sign-stealing — and because of paranoia that any opponent could be stealing signs — clubs have gone to far more elaborate and constantly changing sign protocols. This requires mound meetings and pitchers coming off the rubber in order to re-start the increasingly complex series of signs from dugout to catcher and from catcher to pitcher.
Now, presumably, with these new rules coming online, teams will figure out a new way to cheat. It’s baseball, after all. It’s in their DNA.