brian cashman yankees
Kim Klement | USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees doth protest too much.

SNY’s Andy Martino has obtained the soon-to-be-unsealed MLB sign-stealing letter. And based on his reporting, it’s hard to understand why the Yankees wasted so much time and energy — and probably spent a decent left-handed bat’s worth of money on attorneys — fighting to keep the correspondence under wraps.

The main takeaways from Martino’s report:

• The Yankee investigation started after the Red Sox retaliated for the Apple Watch debacle.

• The Yankees were found to have used their video replay room to pick up signs from the opposing catcher during the 2015 and ’16 seasons. They then relayed the signs to a runner on second base, who would signal them to the batter. This did not happen in real-time like the Astros’ infamous scheme when they won the World Series in 2017. But it was a violation of the rules.

• The Yankees got fined $100,000 for doing this.

• MLB cleared the Yankees of an accusation from the Red Sox that they used YES Network cameras to steal signs. The Red Sox also claimed they caught the Yankees watching the home TV broadcast on an iPad in the bullpen during a road game at the Angels. That was against the rules. But MLB said there was no competitive advantage sought.

• There are conflicting accounts of why former pitching coach Larry Rothschild used the dugout phone to call the replay room once during a game. MLB alleges he was doing so to get signs in the letter, but seemed to back off that assertion in a later statement by commissioner Rob Manfred. The Yankees say he was asking about balls and strikes. Either way, the use of the phone was a rules violation.

• The Yankees were not accused of any rules violations during the 2017 season (and have not been accused of any since).

Look … the Yankees cheated. It was light cheating, and nowhere near what the Astros did, but it was cheating. They paid their fine and moved on. It happens. So it is strange they went to the mat to keep this thing from being released.


James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.