It’s good to be the Boston Red Sox, it would appear.
After months of delays during the investigation into their sign-stealing scandal dating back to the 2018 season, MLB finally got around to announcing the penalties for such propagation - or, rather, the lack thereof. As The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal relayed today, a 2020 2nd round draft pick and a fall guy appear to be the only penalties of note, especially since Alex Cora will get to serve his suspension during a currently non-existent season.
BREAKING: #RedSox penalties:— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) April 22, 2020
*Loss of 2020 2nd-round pick.
*Ban of replay operator J.T. Watkins through 2020 playoffs and from doing same job in ‘21.
*Ban of Alex Cora through ‘20 playoffs, but only for conduct with #Astros.
Story with @EvanDrellich: https://t.co/6Ysn9hsRFa
While the penalties doled out to the Houston Astros for a similar (albeit more complex) cheating scandal were more significant than this, one thing has become clear in this regard - that the spoils of the cheating itself far outweigh the penalty that MLB is willing to dole out for such actions, and that’s a sad, sad admission.
In reality, Boston’s loss of a 2nd round pick becomes even more of a head-scratcher. MLB has already shaved off 35 of the 40 rounds of the draft for this year, and that paired with college seasons being banged means this particular draft is going to be a crapshoot anyway, and it’s likely that the extreme reduction of overall draft bonuses and rounds means that more high-profile high school players will take the college route for the time being. So while it’s certainly a penalty - and some $1.4 million from their bonus pool, per Baseball America’s Carlos Collazo - it’s hardly the kind of thing that will really take a dent out of their system.
(Factor in that they dealt superstar Mookie Betts to save some $30 million in his salary for a season that might not exist, and that’s hardly a bit of cash they’ll miss. Compound that with the addition of Jeter Downs and Co. to their farm system in that deal and missing out on a 2nd round pick in a diluted draft similarly becomes less impactful, but I digress.)
Poor J.T. Watkins, honestly. That’s the overriding sentiment I glean from this.