The team violated MLB rules in 2015-16

Major League Baseball fined the New York Yankees $100,000 in 2017 for using their replay room and phone to steal their opponent’s signs during the 2015 and 2016 seasons, which commissioner Rob Manfred described as a “material violation” of the rules governing the replay room.

The decision was in a letter Manfred sent to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman on Sept. 14, 2017.

The letter was the subject of a lawsuit as the Yankees tried to block its publication. The revelation of the letter – a copy of which was obtained by the Chronicle and SportsNet New York – came after the 2nd United States Court of Appeals last week declined to rehear an appeal by the Yankees to keep it sealed. The letter was obtained during the discovery phase of a $5 million class action lawsuit filed by DraftKings players against Major League Baseball, the Astros and the Boston Red Sox over the sign theft revelations. at the beginning of 2020.

The two-page document provided few details and repeated much of what Manfred previously acknowledged in a September 15, 2017 statement, in which he sanctioned the Red Sox for using their replay room to decode the signs and warned that “Future such violations will be subject to more severe penalties, including possible loss of draft picks.

SEE ALSO: What we know about Manfred’s letter to the Yankees

The Astros continued to use their electronic sign-stealing system and hit the trash cans at Minute Maid Park despite warnings. Owner Jim Crane fired manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow after the system went public in January 2020. The league also fined the franchise $5 million and removed its first- and second round in 2020 and 2021.

Manfred’s letter to Cashman helped reinforce two long-held beliefs: Electronic sign theft predated the Astros’ infamous trash can-hitting system and spread throughout sport before an app arrived. stricter in September 2017. Several baseball players have acknowledged this since the Astros. Punishments were inflicted and they became outcasts. No other publicly known sign theft plan — including the one detailed in Manfred’s letter to Cashman — comes close to the severity of Houston’s dumpster-strike plan.

“If the Astros were the only team to do it, then yeah, give it back (the 2017 World Series championship) – take it back. I know for a fact they weren’t,” the Red Sox ace said. Chris Sale earlier this month. “All those people pointing, well, quick look in the mirror. Make sure you and your team weren’t up to something.”

SEE ALSO: How the Astros’ penalties compare to those of the Red Sox and Yankees

Sale joined the Red Sox in 2017, the same season the Yankees alleged Boston violated league electronic board theft rules by illegally using an Apple Watch. In a letter dated September 14, 2017, Manfred wrote to Cashman that as part of the league’s investigation into the Red Sox, an unnamed Boston player told investigators the Yankees used a similar scheme to decode the signs.

According to the letter, a Yankees baseball operations assistant admitted to league investigators that he provided opponent sign information to members of the team’s replay room during the 2015 and 2015 seasons. 2016.

The staff member’s name is redacted in the letter. The Boston player, who played for the Yankees earlier in his career, is also unnamed.

The replay room staff “physically relayed the information” to the Yankees dugout, but the letter does not specify how it happened. The team has also tried its tactic in road games, according to the letter. At baseball diamonds where the dugout was farther from the replay room, the Yankees sometimes used a dugout phone line to “provide real-time verbal information” about the opponent’s signs, the letter said.

Manfred wrote that the Yankees’ wrongdoing “constitutes a material violation of the replay review rule” and had “the same purpose of the Red Sox scheme that was the subject of the Yankees’ complaint.”

In its public statement of September 15, 2017Manfred admitted that the Yankees “violated a rule governing dugout phone use” in a pre-2017 season.

“The substance of the communications that took place over the dugout phone was not a violation of any rule or regulation per se,” Manfred said in the announcement. “Rather, the breach occurred because the dugout phone technically cannot be used for such communication.”

The 2017 Astros and 2018 Red Sox were cited for sign-stealing schemes that originated in the team’s replay room. The Astros carried out a much more egregious operation: Position a camera in center field at Minute Maid Park, point it at the catcher, and hit some trash cans to relay the signs he flashed to Houston batters.

Manfred’s letter to Cashman didn’t mention anything about the cameras. Nor does he accuse the Yankees of any wrongful activity after Sept. 15, 2017 — the day Manfred promised a tougher sentence for the sign theft.

The Red Sox’s 2018 schedule was “significantly more limited in scope and impact” than the Astros’ actions in 2017, according to the league’s findings. Alex Cora, Boston’s manager that season, faced a one-year suspension solely for his actions as the Astros’ bench coach in 2017.

Cora returned to lead the Red Sox in 2021. He, along with veteran outfielder Carlos Beltrán, were painted as the Astros’ 2017 program point guards. Beltrán played for the Yankees in 2015 and 2016.

After the 2018 season, in response to concerns that permeated the game, Major League Baseball implemented a stricter backboard theft policy and protocols at all of its baseball fields. The league has installed video room monitors to patrol the areas around the clubhouse, game room and dugout for any nefarious activity.