5:00pm: Drellich tweets that Manfred has stated there’s no specific rule against sign-stealing. The punishment the Red Sox could face would be from illegal usage of technology in the dugout.
4:45pm: Evan Drellich of CSN New England tweets that Dombrowski said there is indeed an investigation looking into the Yankees. Newsday’s David Lennon tweets that when asked about the Red Sox’ allegations regarding YES cameras, Yankees skipper Joe Girardi replied bluntly: “No chance. We’re not doing it.” Girardi did acknowledge that all teams try to steal signs to some extent, though without going so far as to use technology to do so (Twitter link via Lennon).
4:30pm: USA Today’s Bob Nightengale writes that a league official confirmed Schmidt’s report to him and added that the league is preparing discipline against the Red Sox. The stealing of signs by a runner on second base (and relaying the upcoming pitch to the hitter) is not forbidden “so long as artificial means are not used,” per Nightengale. While MLB has allowed the presence of iPads in the dugout and bullpen, those league-issued devices don’t have Internet access and cannot stream live video.
Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner briefly addressed the issue today when speaking to reporters (Twitter link via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch), telling the media: “It’s always been a game within a game, but the use of electronics takes it too far.”
4:14pm: In one of the more eyebrow-raising stories of the season, Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times reports that MLB investigators have determined that the Red Sox used an Apple Watch and other technology to steal signs from the Yankees earlier this season. Furthermore, the Red Sox also filed their own complaint against the Yankees today, alleging that they use a YES Network camera for the exclusive purpose of stealing signs during games.
The Yankees filed a complaint about two weeks ago, according to Schmidt, providing the Commissioner’s Office with video that depicted a member of the Boston training staff receiving intel from his Apple Watch and relaying it to players on the field. More damning is the fact that Schmidt reports that the league has already confronted the Red Sox on the matter, and the team has conceded that their training staff did indeed receive information from video replay personnel, which was then relayed to players. The process had been in place for “at least several weeks,” per Schmidt.
The Red Sox reportedly told the league that president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and manager John Farrell were not involved in the implementation of this process and weren’t even aware of the sign-stealing operation at all. Investigators have already interviewed the Red Sox’ training staff as well as outfielder Chris Young. Schmidt’s report also mentions that Brock Holt and Dustin Pedroia were seen on video receiving info from assistant athletic trainer Jon Jochim.
Asked about the story, Farrell told reporters that the Red Sox are “aware of the rule (that) electronic devices are not to be used in the dugout,” but said that it’s a league matter and offered no further comment (link via ESPN’s Scott Lauber).
It’s not clear what actions that commissioner Rob Manfred will take against the Red Sox, nor is there any word of whether an investigation of the Yankees will be launched based on Boston’s reported allegations. Manfred has previously stripped the Cardinals of multiple draft picks as punishment for illegally accessing the Astros’ proprietary databases, though certainly that was a different scenario and is not a direct comparison to the Red Sox/Yankees situation.
Manfred is at Fenway Park tonight and will meet with the media at 5:45pm ET, per Lauber, so there could very well be further details made available in the near future. In the meantime, I’d highly encourage those interested in the matter to read Schmidt’s column in full.