J.D. Martinez

J.D. Martinez shares new revelation about Astros sign-stealing in 2018 playoffs

J.D. Martinez shares new revelation about Astros sign-stealing in 2018 playoffs

Mike Fiers didn't blow the lid on the Houston Astros' sign-stealing operation until early this year.

But the Boston Red Sox knew what the Astros were up to entering the 2018 American League Championship Series -- thanks to a tip from Fiers.

That's according to Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez, who revealed Thursday that Fiers made him aware of the Astros' illegal sign-stealing system before the 2018 playoffs.

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"The only way I ever found out was towards in the playoffs when Fiers -- who is a very good friend of mine -- he reached out to me and said, ‘Hey, make sure you’re doing this because this is what these guys are doing in the playoffs,' " Martinez told WEEI's "Ordway, Merloni & Fauria" radio show. "I was like, ‘What?! How is this a thing?’ "

Martinez said he mentioned Fiers' tip to Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who told Martinez "about the whole system," having served as Houston's bench coach in 2017.

"That was why it was so crazy," Martinez said. "[Cora] was so relaxed going into those playoff games because he knew -- we were ready for it."

New Red Sox catcher Jonathan Lucroy suggested Thursday that many MLB teams were aware the Astros were cheating.

But Cora had specific knowledge of Houston's operation, and considering Boston dispatched the Astros in five games in the 2018 ALCS en route to a World Series title, it's worth wondering how much Fiers' counter-intelligence benefited the Red Sox (if it all) in their series victory.

It's also worth wondering if Cora shared Houston's method of stealing signs -- which involved a TV monitor next to the dugout and banging on trash cans to alert hitters of certain pitches -- with the 2018 Red Sox, who are under investigation for their own sign-stealing operation.

Martinez insisted Boston didn't adopt any part of the Astros' system, however.

"You can put me on any lie detector," Martinez said. "Alex Cora never influenced us and never told us about that thing."

Who J.D. Martinez will celebrate home runs with now that Brock Holt is gone from the Red Sox

Who J.D. Martinez will celebrate home runs with now that Brock Holt is gone from the Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox suffered a big loss when it was announced that Brock Holt would be signing with the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday night.

Holt was a great super-utility player who could play almost every position on the diamond in a pinch. In addition, he was a fantastic locker room presence and did a lot off the field to help organizations such as the Jimmy Fund.

There's no doubt that the Red Sox will miss Holt on and off the field. But J.D. Martinez may miss Holt most of all.

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Martinez had a post-homer celebration that he always did with Holt. Holt would swarm Martinez after every home run the slugger blasted, and Holt would wrap him up in a bear hug and jump around the dugout.

But with Holt now gone, who will Martinez celebrate with?

"That’s a good one," Martinez said when asked about the topic by MassLive.com's Chris Cotillo. "Whoever’s there. I don’t know."

It's certainly going to depress Red Sox fans not to see Martinez celebrate homers with Holt anymore. But as Martinez noted, that's just part of the business of baseball.

"You wish him the best," Martinez said of Holt to Cotillo. "He was a character in here. He was fun to be around. You wish him the best, but that’s the business side of it."

Holt posted a farewell to Red Sox fans on Wednesday that reflected on the relationships he built in seven years in Boston that went beyond baseball for the native Texan.

That business side of baseball is something that Red Sox fans are becoming increasingly frustrated with and Holt's departure and absence from Martinez's home run celebration will only add to their growing discontent.

J.D. Martinez says players' frustrations with Astros are 'a bit too much'

J.D. Martinez says players' frustrations with Astros are 'a bit too much'

Several players around Major League Baseball have expressed their displeasure with the Houston Astros and the lack of discipline handed down to players involved in their sign-stealing scandal.

Superstars Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner, and Mike Trout are among those upset with how MLB has handled the situation. But as more and more players pile on, Boston Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez just wants to put this all in the past.

Martinez shared his thoughts on the outrage around the league on Monday.

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"I understand players' frustrations and stuff like that, but I think in my opinion, it's already getting a little bit too much," Martinez said, per ESPN's Joon Lee. "We have to move past it at some point. We can't continue to talk about it. I know it's frustrating right now. People want to talk about it, this and that, but it's 2020. I think teams are aware of everything that's kind of happened.

"... From here on out, it's going to be a different message in the clubhouses and a different environment with people, like steroids. The punishments were so harsh that people weren't going to attempt to think about doing anymore. I think it will get to that point."

Martinez also believes MLB commissioner Rob Manfred granting players immunity in exchange for information on the scandal was the right move.

"If it weren't for players talking and getting that immunity, I don't think no one would have ever have said anything," Martinez said.

A member of the Astros from 2011-13, Martinez was teammates with two-time MVP Jose Altuve, who's at the center of Houston's scandal.

As a result of MLB's investigation, the Astros were penalized with a $5 million fine and both manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeffrey Luhnow received one-year suspensions. Hinch and Luhnow were fired shortly afterward.

Alex Cora's two-year tenure as Red Sox manager came to an end after MLB's report named him as a central figure in the scandal while he served as the Astros bench coach in 2017.

Altuve, Alex Bregman, and other players involved have since apologized for their actions, though the sincerity of those apologies has been questioned.

As much as Martinez wants to move on, it's unlikely this mess will be cleaned up any time soon.