BOSTON — Commissioner Rob Manfred on Tuesday acknowledged that both the Red Sox and Yankees are being investigated for sign-stealing but did not detail any of those investigations. A conclusion is expected before the regular season ends.
Manfred said that it’s his understanding that general managers usually settle sign-stealing issues amongst themselves, rather than the story becoming public. Gamesmanship between the sport’s most famous rivals, then, may be at play.
“I take any issue that affects the play of the game on the field extremely seriously,” Manfred said. "I do believe that this is a charged situation from a competitive perspective. When you have the kind of rivalry that the Yankees and the Red Sox have, I guess it’s not shocking you could have charges and counter charges like this. We will conduct a thorough investigation of the charges on both sides. I want to do that quickly. I think that’s important, that we get it resolved. The only thing that I can tell you about repercussions is that to the extent that there was a violation on any either side, and I’m not saying that there was… We are 100 percent comfortable that it is not an ongoing issue.”
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A punishment for one or both clubs would be made with deterrence in mind, Manfred said, but indicated vacating wins is not likely. That’s mostly because the impact of stealing signs can be very hard to determine.
There is no rule against stealing signs, but there is a rule against the use of electronic devices.
Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, like manager John Farrell, did not deny or confirm whether the Sox stole signs. Dombrowski, who seemed somewhat amused, noted the ongoing prevalence of sign stealing within baseball.
“No, I don’t,” Dombrowski said when asked if sign stealing is wrong. “I guess it depends how you do it."
Dombrowski hinted he believed that the Yankees leaked the story. Manfred gave a scheduled press conference at Fenway Park — not because of the sign story, as originally reported by The New York Times, but because of his previously planned trip around the league.
Manfred said the Red Sox have been "100 percent, fully cooperative with us."