Red Sox

Report: MLB gave players immunity in exchange for testimonies in sign-stealing scandal

Report: MLB gave players immunity in exchange for testimonies in sign-stealing scandal

While ex-Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were slapped with year-long suspensions and subsequently fired for their roles in the team's sign-stealing scandal, players involved were completely exonerated.

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred explained his decision not to penalize the players by calling it “difficult and impractical." But according to The Wall Street Journal, the league and the MLB Players Association agreed to a deal that granted immunity to players in exchange for honest testimony.

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via WSJ:

But there is a simpler explanation for why no players were penalized: The league and the MLB Players Association struck an agreement early in the process that granted immunity in exchange for honest testimony, according to several people familiar with the matter.

The league was quick to make such an offer, these people said, in part because it did not believe it would win subsequent grievances with any players it attempted to discipline ...

The deal is a sign of MLB’s desire for a speedy and conflict-free investigation, the continuing power of the baseball players’ union and the fragile state of the sport’s labor relations. The promise of amnesty allowed the league to interview 23 current and former Astros players during the two-month investigation.

The investigation resulted in the aforementioned suspensions as well as the Astros being fined $5 million and losing their first and second-round draft picks for the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

Manager Alex Cora mutually agreed to part ways with the Boston Red Sox shortly thereafter, and former Astros player Carlos Beltran stepped down from his new role as New York Mets manager. Cora had been the Astros bench coach and Beltran an Astros player in  2017 and both were mentioned prominently in MLB's report on the scheme.

MLB is in the middle of a separate sign-stealing investigation involving the 2018 Red Sox. Cora is expected to be handed a suspension as long -- if not longer -- than Hinch and Luhnow's once the investigation concludes.

Who are the best catchers in Red Sox history? Ranking the Top 5

Who are the best catchers in Red Sox history? Ranking the Top 5

For a position so essential to baseball — no player handles the ball more often — the catching ranks in Red Sox history are surprisingly shallow.

Multiple seasons belong to players like Johnny Peacock, Pinch Thomas, Hick Cady, Roxy Walters, and Muddy Ruel, names that sound like they should belong to bouncers before big leaguers.

The dearth of catching talent may partly explain why the Red Sox routinely featured lousy starting rotations, at least until Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, and Co. arrived to give the club perennial Cy Young contenders no matter who squatted behind the plate.

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Had this list extended to 10 instead of five, some of the names would surprise you. Wally Schang, anyone? How about Bill Carrigan? There'd definitely be room for Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Anyway, the overall talent level may be thin, but the top five are legit, with three All-Stars and two Hall of Famers.

Click here for the top five catchers in Red Sox history.

Dave Roberts says former Red Sox Mookie Betts 'loves' being a Dodger

Dave Roberts says former Red Sox Mookie Betts 'loves' being a Dodger

Are Dave Roberts' latest comments about Mookie Betts just wishful thinking or reality?

The Los Angeles Dodgers manager said some interesting things about his new right fielder on ESPN's "The Sedano Show" Monday, including that he knows how Betts feels about being in Dodger blue.

I think him being in spring training with us — the relationship I have with him personally, and I think some players too, and coaches — it feels like he’s already played a season with us, which is strange. … Mookie’s gotta do what’s best for him and his family once that time does present itself, but I know that he loves being a Dodger.

After just eight spring training games, Betts "loves" being a Dodger? It seems like a stretch, but maybe getting out of Boston was that much of a relief for the 27-year-old.

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With the 2020 season on pause due to the coronavirus outbreak, it's possible we never see Betts play a regular-season game for the Dodgers. Major League Baseball and the MLB Players' Association agreed on a settlement that would let all pending free agents hit the open market if the coming season is canceled.

Betts, the 2018 American League MVP and World Series champion, likely will test free agency come 2021, and the Dodgers will have to pay a hefty price to keep him in L.A. 

If Dodgers ownership and team president Andrew Friedman decide to shell out the cash, then Betts will probably "love" being a Dodger even more.