FORT MYERS, Fla. — Major League Baseball will not have a decision in the Boston Red Sox sign-stealing investigation this week, a person with knowledge of the probe told The Associated Press, meaning the team will open spring training without knowing if it will be punished.
The person spoke on the condition of anonymity Tuesday because there was no formal announcement. Commissioner Rob Manfred said last week that he hoped to have the investigation wrapped before the start of spring training; Red Sox pitchers and catchers reported Tuesday and have their first workout Wednesday.
The Red Sox were reportedly ready to promote bench coach Ron Roenicke to manager, but they appeared to be waiting for the results of the investigation to make sure the former Brewers boss wasn’t a target. Alex Cora was let go for directing the sign-stealing scheme with the Houston Astros in 2017, the year before he took over in Boston.
Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke said this morning that Chris Sale won’t be ready for the start of the season. He’ll begin the year on the injured list.
The reason is not, Roenicke says, his rehabbed elbow directly. It’s that he’s been sidelined with pneumonia and is thus a couple of weeks behind in his preparation. Roenicke, as paraphrased by Julian McWilliams of the Boston Globe, said that it was “unfair” to give sale “just four starts” this spring.
Which, as Rotoworld’s Matthew Pouliot observes, is kind of strange because Sale’s last four spring trainings have consisted of three, five, four and two starts, respectively, yet he has been deemed ready to go each year. Pouliot also notes that, if he was truly only a couple of weeks behind, as Roenicke says, he’d be ramped up to about four innings per outing or so by the time the bell rings as opposed to six, maybe, and that that’s not an unusual level of stamina for a starter in this day and age given the changes in bullpen usage. Ideal for Sale? Maybe not, but not the sort of thing one would expect to result in an IL stint to start the year.
An overabundance of caution informed by the fact that, well, the Red Sox aren’t intending to compete this year? A change in philosophy under the Red Sox’ interim new manager? Or is there something going on with Sale’s health at the moment?