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Red Sox may be aware of sign-stealing investigation findings

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A report from The Athletic’s Daniel Kaplan says that the Red Sox might have seen the findings of the unreleased report on MLB’s inquiry into possible sign-stealing in 2018. A lawyer for the Red Sox, Lauren Moskowitz, referred to MLB’s findings during a legal hearing that was held to determine whether or not fantasy sports players have the legal standing to bring lawsuits against baseball and teams accused of sign-stealing for holding illegitimate competitions.

Moskowitz was asked by the Judge Jed Rakoff whether or not the Sox admit that they violated the rules in 2018. Moskowitz said that the team refuses to do so. She elaborated when further pressed by Rakoff:

“Your Honor, I think that there are distinctions between what the Red Sox believe occurred and what the commissioner found. And I think that certainly they’re entitled to disagree that that activity happened at the club level. Certainly, we did find on certain occasions in 2017, that this electronic device was used to communicate sign information.”

Legal representation for MLB and the Astros also took part in the hearing, which according to Kaplan was done over the phone (likely due to concerns about COVID-19).

The release of the Red Sox report has been repeatedly delayed, and is now on hold until further notice as baseball focuses on its response to the ongoing pandemic. It’s therefore interesting that the Sox seemingly have heard the results of the inquiry. Rob Manfred communicated with Astros owner Jim Crane via letter about his findings on the Astros before the public release of the Houston report, so it stands to reason that Manfred may have already done the same with Sox owner John Henry.

That means that the Red Sox report could be all but finished, and that baseball is simply waiting for a time when it’s got a lot less on its hands before the report is released and any possible punishment is handed down. Suspensions might be in order if that is the case, but all indications so far have been that any discipline for the Sox would be far softer than what the Astros got. Both manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were given year-long suspensions from baseball in Houston.

Kaplan’s report goes on to talk more about the intricacies of the legal matter between the DFS community and baseball, and it’s a fairly interesting read. You’ve probably got some time on your hands, so give it a read.

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Red Sox employees “livid” over team pay cut plan

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Even Drellich of The Athletic reports that the Boston Red Sox are cutting the pay of team employees. Those cuts, which began to be communicated last night, apply to all employees making $50,000 or more. They are tiered cuts, with people making $50-99,000 seeing salary cut by 20%, those making $100k-$499,000 seeing $25% cuts and those making $500,000 or more getting 30% cuts.

Drellich reported that a Red Sox employee told him that “people are livid” over the fact that those making $100K are being treated the same way as those making $500K. And, yes, that does seem to be a pretty wide spread for similar pay cuts. One would think that a team with as many analytically-oriented people on staff could perhaps break things down a bit more granularly.

Notable in all of this that the same folks who own the Red Sox — Fenway Sports Group — own Liverpool FC of the English Premier League, and that just last month Liverpool’s pay cut/employee furlough policies proved so unpopular that they led to a backlash and a subsequent reversal by the club. That came after intense criticism from Liverpool fan groups and local politicians. Sox owner John Henry must be confident that no such backlash will happen in Boston.

As we noted yesterday, The Kansas City Royals, who are not as financially successful as the Boston Red Sox, have not furloughed employees or cut pay as a result of baseball’s shutdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps someone in Boston could call the Royals and ask them how they managed that.