While the team fights to keep the investigative letter from commissioner Rob Manfred under wraps — it is currently appealing its planned release to the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals — Martino believes the contents may embarrass the Yankees, but would pale in comparison to the Astros’ cheating scandal.
Martino has not seen the letter, but said it was “summarized to me by non-Yankee sources who are intimately familiar with it.” He reports:
According to three people with direct knowledge, the letter says that Yankees players used the replay room to decode pitch sequences during the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
Players would then relay these signs to the dugout, where others would try to get the information to a runner on second base.
MLB never fielded a complaint that the Yankees were stealing signs in 2017, 2018, or beyond.
The letter also says that then-pitching coach Larry Rothschild improperly used the dugout phone to call the replay room — not to steal a sign, but to identify a particular pitch.
The wording and tone of the letter will provide fodder for anyone looking to opine that the Yankees cheated. But the facts will show that their use of the replay room to decode signs occurred before 2017, when it wasn’t as clear that MLB regarded that as a violation.
Look, the Astros cheated en route to a championship. It was very bad. But the Yankees should stop whining about it, and the world should stop rehashing it. Let’s just get the damn letter out here so we can all move on for good.