Back on February 16, commissioner Rob Manfred said that he hoped the league’s investigation into whether or not the Red Sox improperly used video replay technology to steal opponents’ signs would be concluded in two weeks’ time. That loose deadline has now passed, and it is still unclear as to when the league will report its findings and issue penalties (if any) to any Red Sox personnel. According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, a decision from the league isn’t expected to come this week, but “the plan is before the regular season.”
For comparison’s sake, the original Athletic piece from Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich about the Astros’ sign-stealing activities was published on November 12, and Major League Baseball announced its disciplinary actions against the Astros almost exactly two months’ later, on January 13. The Rosenthal/Drellich report about the Red Sox was released on January 7, so assuming a general two-month window for such league investigations, it doesn’t seem outwardly unusual that MLB has yet to make an announcement as we hit March 1.
Circumstances could dictate a longer investigation, however. Given that the league was so roundly criticized for the perceived lightness of its discipline towards the Astros, it isn’t unexpected that MLB would take a more measured approach in exploring any possible violation the Red Sox may have committed. (Not that this would necessarily mean a bigger penalty — Sherman writes that the general feeling is that Boston’s “scheme was not as systemic or widespread as that of the Astros, thus, the penalties are not expected to be as severe.”) Manfred told reporters two weeks ago that the Red Sox investigation involved “there have been a couple of developments…that slowed us down” and required secondary interviews with some involved parties.
Interestingly, the Dodgers may have received some slight insight into the investigation when the club was preparing to acquire Mookie Betts from the Sox. Los Angeles “asked MLB if it should be concerned about acquiring Betts and were assured not to worry,” Sherman reports. Red Sox players aren’t subject to possible suspensions as per the outcome of the investigation, since players were given immunity so they could feel free to openly discuss their knowledge of any illegal goings-on inside the clubhouse and video room.