Boston Red Sox: MLB punishment marks a new beginning

How the Boston Red Sox punishment handed down by MLB for their involvement in a sign-stealing probe in 2018 marks a new beginning.

The Boston Red Sox are now officially onto 2020, if and whenever that begins, after Major League Baseball finally released their findings and punishment for the team’s sign-stealing scandal in 2018.

On Wednesday, MLB released their findings due to an investigation that has seemingly taken forever.  The Rob Manfred report didn’t find evidence that the Red Sox were complicit in any obvious cheating like the Houston Astros in 2017, thus came down on the team pretty lightly.

According to Evan Drellich of The Athletic, those penalties included loss of a 2020 second-round pick, ban of replay operator J.T. Watkins through 2020 and ban of former manager Alex Cora through 2020 playoffs.

In all, Watkins was the scapegoat in all of this and the Boston Red Sox only getting docked a second-round pick should be marked as a relief for the team and fans.  Yes, any draft pick is important for a team desperate to rebuild its farm system, but the punishment could’ve been much more severe.

As for Cora, the team already parted ways with the former skipper, but the report did take him off the hook for any sign stealing in 2018, a season in which the Red Sox won 108 games and hoisted a World Series championship.

The winners in all of this is the players of that team, who were adamant that their success was built on hard work and hard work alone.

Most importantly, Boston Red Sox management has learned a valuable lesson.  Here is a statement released by president and CEO Sam Kennedy following the punishment:

In acknowledgement of that any involvement was “unacceptable” Kennedy does recognize the punishment was light, but at the same time is not taking a “victory lap” as there will still be a gray cloud hanging over the players and trophy of that 2018 season.

So, what now?

There will be consistent rumors of an Alex Cora return in 2021 despite the team taking the interim title off new Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke.

Players like Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Andrew Benintendi and newcomer Alex Verdugo will need to perform up to and perhaps above their potential to take some of the sting off that Mookie Betts trade that we still can’t believe happened.

And now that this investigation has concluded, Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom can move forward in re-connecting the team with a fanbase that has lost some trust.  Not due to the sign-stealing scandal, but more how the historic franchise has handled a young star in Betts in favor of some questionable contracts that has crippled the team.

Next: Boston Red Sox: 5 homegrown players on the path to greatness

In summary, it’s time for a new beginning for the Boston Red Sox.  Once Covid-19 is under control in this country, baseball will be America’s remedy for healing.

While the Houston Astros will take the crown as MLB’s big villain, the Red Sox will fly under the radar, which should help them clean the slate and become that loveable baseball team again.

It’s a new beginning, so let’s tuck this scandal away with Spy-gate and Deflate-gate and let’s play ball.

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