MLB Announces Red Sox Punishment


The Red Sox punishment was finally announced by Major League Baseball today.  The league announced that they will suspend Red Sox replay operator J.T. Watkins through the 2020 playoffs and from doing the same job for the 2021 season.  The team will also be stripped of a 2020 second-round pick and former manager Alex Cora has been banned through the 2020 season and playoffs for his actions with the Houston Astros, but not for the 2018 Red Sox season. 

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“The evidence uncovered during the investigation is insufficient to conclude that the (Red Sox) conduct continued in the 2018 Postseason or 2019 regular season,” the commissioner’s statement reads according to The Athletic.  Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said the investigation conducted by the league included interviews with 65 witnesses, which included 34 current and former Red Sox players. 

The league’s investigation determined that Watkins at times during the 2018 season used video feeds in the replay room , which are “in in violation of MLB regulations, to revise sign sequence information that he had permissibly provided to players prior to the game.”

Commissioner Manfred will require the Red Sox to forfeit a second-round draft pick, Manfred saying “the club must be held accountable, particularly since the club may have benefited from Watkins conduct”.  The Red Sox punishment overall is nothing in comparison to the Houston Astros.  The league is looking at Watkins actions as a “rogue employee”. 

The suspension of Cora is interesting to note, because the suspension will run through the 2020 season and playoffs.  This could seemingly open the door for Cora to return to the Red Sox to manage the team again in 2021.  Ron Roenicke is currently listed as the Red Sox interim manager for the season. 

The Red Sox have maintained from the beginning that they did not do anything wrong during the 2018 season.  Current and former players have maintained the stance the Red Sox have been innocent during this scandal.  Former Red Sox reliever Joe Kelly said, "If there is cheating involved with how good our team was we should have won every single out.  We should have not even lost an inning if there was some good cheating involved, which would have been a lot more fun because we would have won in four”.

Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy released a statement on behalf of the Red Sox saying, “as an organization, we strive for 100% compliance with the rules. MLB's investigation concluded that in isolated instances during the 2018 regular season, sign sequences were decoded through the use of live game video rather than through permissible means.”

Manfred said he has been assured by the Red Sox “absolute assurances” that the team will not engage in illegal sign-stealing activities again. 

The fact of the matter is simple.  The Red Sox scandal is finally over and everyone involved can finally move on.  The loss of the second-round draft pick will hurt a team needing to replenish it’s farm system, but Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom has begun the process of adding young players via trade.  The Red Sox have finally been exonerated and we can finally say their 2018 World Series championship is not tainted. 

I was critical of Cora during the Astros and Red Sox investigations, including calling for his dismissal or “parting of ways”.  But now that this is finally over and we can try and focus on the 2020 season, Alex Cora Watch is officially back on, #FreeCora. 

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Boston Sports Syndicate: MLB Announces Red Sox Punishment
MLB Announces Red Sox Punishment
Boston Sports Syndicate
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