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Red Sox lawyer hints team knows and disagrees with results of MLB's sign-stealing investigation

Chris Cwik
·4 min read
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It’s easy to forget, considering everything else that has happened in the baseball world the past few weeks, but the Boston Red Sox are still under investigation as part of their own sign-stealing scandal. While commissioner Rob Manfred was expected to announce the results of that investigation during spring training, the coronavirus prevented that from happening.

Because of that, it’s unclear when the public will know Major League Baseball’s ruling. But if a Red Sox lawyer is any indication, the team is already aware of — and disagrees with — MLB’s findings.

That information was revealed during a legal argument, according to The Athletic’s Daniel Kaplan. A Red Sox lawyer was part of a 47-minute oral argument to determine whether a lawsuit involving daily-fantasy players should be allowed to proceed.

When asked whether the Red Sox admit that the team violated the rules, the team’s lawyer — Lauren Moskowitz — replied, “We do not admit that.”

The judge then asked whether Moskowitz and the Red Sox felt Manfred “was off base.” Moskowitz’s reply hinted that the Red Sox already know the findings of Manfred’s — and MLB’s — investigation.

Nevertheless, Moskowitz replied, “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.”

That “what the commissioner found” line certainly seems to indicate Manfred has completed his investigation and informed the Red Sox of his findings.

Why are the Red Sox being investigated for sign stealing?

Two months after Mike Fiers spoke to The Athletic about the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scheme, another report broke suggesting the Red Sox utilized the video-replay room near the dugout to steal signs from opponents in 2018. The Red Sox went on to win the World Series that season. Manfred immediately said MLB would investigate the situation. The Red Sox said the team would fully cooperate with Manfred.

How did the Red Sox steal signs?

The Red Sox are accused of using the video-replay room to learn their opponents’ signs. A player would reportedly use video footage in the replay room to look at the opposing team’s signs. Once that player broke the code, he would relay that information to the rest of the team in the dugout. Once on base, Red Sox players could signal to the hitter what pitch was coming.

The Red Sox claim this method of stealing signs could not be used during the postseason. By that point, MLB was aware teams were using the video-replay room to steal signs and had increased security.

What have the Red Sox done in response to the sign-stealing scandal?

In an attempt to get ahead of MLB’s punishment, the Red Sox fired manager Alex Cora in January. Cora — who was a coach with the Astros in 2017 — was one of the few people named in Manfred’s report about the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. Cora’s connection to two teams that cheated was enough for the Red Sox to take action.

Why did the Red Sox’s lawyer mention sign stealing in 2017?

While the Red Sox are being investigated for what happened in 2018, the team was connected to stealing signs in 2017. A team trainer allegedly used an Apple Watch to relay information to the team regarding the opposing team’s signs. The Red Sox were fined an undisclosed amount by the league.

Why is there a lawsuit against the Red Sox?

The daily fantasy community is attempting to sue the Astros, MLB and the Red Sox over the sign-stealing scandal. The DFS contestants argued that the games were not played fairly, and that the sign-stealing scandal impacted how players bet on games. Had the DFS contestants known about the sign-stealing scandals, it would have affected how they wagered money on the 2017 Astros and 2018 Red Sox.

The judge assigned to the case — Jed Rakoff — said he will decide whether the case will be dismissed by April 15.

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