Spygate, it wasn't. Deflategate, it wasn't.
To the disappointment of people like Jon Heyman -- who wanted Major League Baseball to force the Red Sox to forfeit all of this season's victories over the Yankees because of "cheating" -- Watchgate came to an anticlimactic ending Friday when commissioner Rob Manfred fined the Red Sox an undisclosed amount of money over the sign-stealing incident reported to MLB by the Yankees several weeks ago. The Yanks complained the Sox were using an Apple watch in the dugout to relay signs, which were deciphered by the team's video workers in the clubhouse, to hitters.
Manfred -- who pointed out that the stealing of signs is not illegal, though using on-field electonic devices to relay them is -- said the money from the fine would be used to help hurricane-relief efforts in Florida.
The Yankees didn't escape unscathed. The Red Sox had filed a countercomplaint, accusing them of using their YES Network cameras to steal signs, and though Manfred said there was "insufficient evidence" to punish them for that, he did fine them an undisclosed amount for violating a rule governing the use of dugout phones.
So there were no suspensions or firings of individuals involved in the scheme, as some had called for, nor was there any forfeiture of draft choices. But Manfred warned "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."
The Yankees really outdid themselves this offseason, adding slugger Giancarlo Stanton to their already powerful batting order.
Bringing Stanton to New York is a pretty horrifying prospect for anyone in the AL East. Especially considering the Bronx Bombers already have Aaron Judge, Greg Bird, Gary Sanchez, and Didi Gregorius.
Most MLB fans are already leaning toward crowning the Yankees AL East champions.
But Brian Cashman says not so fast.
The Yankees GM believes that there's still work to do in order to top the Red Sox, and rightfully so. His team is still in the early portions of spring training.
“They’re the AL East champs, so we’re not on equal footing,” Cashman said to media on Wednesday. “We were the Wild Card. They had the title within the division last year. I don’t know if they’re putting a flag up for it or not, but they are the AL East champs, we are not. So we are not on equal footing until we take that away from them, while at the same time preventing anybody that finished behind us from surpassing us and joining the fray.
Cashman even goes on to compliment the roster moves the O's and Blue Jays have executed this offseason.
“Toronto’s done a lot of work on its roster. Baltimore is starting to make some signs. So, no, we’re not on the same ground because they are the AL East champions, and until someone takes that away from them, you’ve got to pay homage.”
Does anyone actually buy the Yanks are underdogs to the Sox? Probably not.
But Cashman wants to make sure he is respectful and wouldn't want to provide any extra motivation for Boston to feed off.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- After this winter, what’s a little more waiting?
J.D. Martinez arrived at JetBlue Park on Wednesday morning and was examined during the day. There was a possibility the Red Sox would finish the day by introducing Martinez in his new uniform -- that his agreed-upon, five-year deal would become official.
We’re going to have to wait until Thursday at the earliest.
President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski on Wednesday evening told ESPN and NBC Sports Boston that he does not expect Martinez to be in workouts on Thursday. Nonetheless, all indications to this point are that the hold-up is related to the logistics of reviewing Martinez’s medicals.
The Sox are awaiting the results of Martinez’s medical exam(s), which can sometimes include different opinions from different doctors in different places. The Sox’ medical staff is, naturally, Boston-based. Specialists can sometimes be involved.
Media waited around JetBlue Park on Wednesday for word on a press conference’s scheduling. Naturally, there is a sense of the unknown attached to waiting with such a major acquisition.
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But with a deal this large and a player this impactful, the chances of anything going awry to the point a deal deteriorates are slim. The Sox have every right to make sure they’re making a sound investment, and there’s no need to rush a press conference. Contracts can be reworked in the instance something is discovered in Martinez’s exam. But, again, there is no evidence the Sox and Martinez are in that territory.
Martinez has had injuries in recent years. A collision with an outfield wall in 2016 left Martinez with a non-displaced fracture of the radial neck of the right elbow. To begin the 2017 season, Martinez had a sprained Lisfranc ligament in his right foot.