Rob Manfred’s message to the Red Sox and, by extension, the rest of Major League Baseball could be summarized this way: Don’t do it again.
The commissioner released the findings of his investigation into the Yankees’ recent complaint that the Red Sox had stolen signs with the use of an Apple Watch.
In a statement released late Friday afternoon, Manfred said he concluded the Red Sox were in violation of statutes prohibiting the use of electronic devices to steal signs, saying they were guilty in 2017 of “sending electronic communications from their video replay room to an athletic trainer in the dugout.”
Because Manfred’s investigation concluded that the sign-stealing went on without the knowledge of Boston’s ownership and front office and that the conduct ceased immediately when the franchise learned of the Yankees’ complaint, the Red Sox — who were credited with cooperating “completely” in the inquiry — were fined an undisclosed amount, which will be donated to hurricane relief efforts in Florida.
Manfred said in the statement that Boston’s counterclaim that the Yankees had used their YES Network to aid in stealing signs could not be verified. Manfred said the Yankees “fully cooperated” and that “we found insufficient evidence to support the allegation.”
However, in a season previous to this one, the Yankees were found to have improperly used a dugout phone for communication and were fined a “lesser” amount than the Red Sox, a figure that also will be donated to hurricane relief efforts in Florida.
Manfred added a warning to the entire sport. “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,” he said.
According to sources, MLB circulated a memo among all teams earlier in the day requesting they not comment further once results of the investigation were released.
Hence, when Joe Girardi was asked about it after his team took batting practice Friday, he didn’t have much to say.
“It’s over,” he said. “We move forward.”