Red Sox

Red Sox and Yankees receive undisclosed fines for Watchgate

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Red Sox and Yankees receive undisclosed fines for Watchgate

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."

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Hanley Ramirez making headlines the wrong way

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NBC Sports Boston Photo

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Hanley Ramirez making headlines the wrong way

1:29 - It was reported Friday that Hanley Ramirez has been linked to an ongoing, possible drug-related investigation. Evan Drellich joins Trenni Kusnierek and Mike Giardi from Fenway Park to break down what he knows about the situation.

6:56 - A. Sherrod Blakely sits down with Tom Giles and Danielle Trotta to explain why he’s not concerned about Celtics draft pick Robert Williams missing his first conference call with the media.

9:55 - Michael Holley, A. Sherrod Blakely and Adam Himmelsbach play a round of buy or sell surrounding the aftermath of Thursday’s draft results.

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NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Mitch Moreland comes through as envisioned without Hanley Ramirez

Mitch Moreland comes through as envisioned without Hanley Ramirez

BOSTON — The best acquisition of the Red Sox offseason was J.D. Martinez, who’s worth more money than they’re paying him. But Martinez is probably not the best value find of the winter. That title likely belongs to Mitch Moreland, making $6.5 million. 

When the Red Sox cut Ramirez, they also believed Moreland could cut it. The brain trust felt, hoped, that the overall drop-off going from Ramirez to Moreland would be negligible.

The exact circumstances of Ramirez’s departure from the Sox came into question Friday because of a report that Ramirez is tied to a criminal investigation into an alleged drug ring. Regardless of how that situation plays out — Sox manager Alex Cora said after Friday’s 14-10 win over the Mariners that he hoped the report was not true — the torch was passed to Moreland about a month ago.

The Sox’ general struggles against lefties can make the decision to let Ramirez go seem questionable (from a baseball standpoint, of course). But there was no struggle for the team on Friday against southpaw Wade LeBlanc, who came into the night with a 2.63 ERA and six days earlier tossed 7 2/3 shutout innings against the Sox. 

And overall, Moreland has indeed been sufficient in Ramirez’s absence.

Ramirez played his last game for the Sox on May 24. Since then, Moreland is hitting .280 with a   .343 on-base percentage and .484 slugging percentage, helped by a 3-for-5 performance on Friday night. Martinez (4-for-5) was the star of the evening, one of the best Sox wins of the year after starter Steven Wright allowed 10 runs. But Moreland, batting clean-up behind Martinez, tied a season-high with three hits. 

There was a brief rough patch in mid-June, a 4-for-32 skid in eight starts and 10 games that knocked down some of Moreland’s gaudy numbers. He’s still carrying the fourth-best OPS on the team since Ramirez’s departure, at .827. Nos. 1 and 2 are Andrew Benintendi, 1.059, and Martinez, 1.053. Those monsters have eight home runs apiece.

Moreland, carrying a five-game hit streak into Saturday, seems to thrive in the clean-up role, too. He’s batting .351 in 23 games in that spot this season.

It's a lot easier to forget Ramirez with Moreland raking like that in Ramirez's old spot.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE