J.D. Martinez Rips MLB's Punishment of Red Sox: 'There Was Nothing There'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 7, 2020

FT. MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 28: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after hitting a triple during the first inning of a Grapefruit League game against the Minnesota Twins at CenturyLink Sports Complex on February 28, 2020 in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

Boston Red Sox outfielder J.D. Martinez ripped MLB's decision to take away the club's second-round pick in the 2020 draft as punishment for alleged sign-stealing during the 2018 regular season.

"If they went to court with that, it would get thrown out. There was nothing there," Martinez told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe on Wednesday. "The judge would laugh."

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in the April 22 announcement the actions were "more limited in scope and impact" than the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scheme in 2017, but he also suspended Red Sox video replay system operator J.T. Watkins for the entire 2020 season, including the playoffs.

"That pissed me off. It wasn't right," Martinez said. "They just ruined this guy's career with no evidence."

Both the 2017 Astros and the 2018 Red Sox capped the season in question by winning the World Series.

The sign-stealing issue hovered over MLB like a dark cloud during spring training, which was halted in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Manfred announced the Astros' punishments in January. The club was docked in first- and second-round picks in the next two drafts and fined $5 million. General manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch were suspended for the 2020 season and then fired by the organization.

The Red Sox parted ways with manager Alex Cora, the bench coach for the 2017 Astros, in January. Manfred suspended him through the 2020 postseason because of his actions with Houston but not with Boston.

"I think we were slow to appreciate the risk on this topic," the commissioner told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic in February. "I hate where we are."

Meanwhile, Martinez told the Boston Globe he's "pretty confident" the 2020 season will take place in some form and he doesn't want to lose a full year because of his age.

"I'm 32. I'm an antique. I need to be out there playing," said Martinez, who last year batted .304 with 36 home runs and 105 RBI. "This sucks. Hopefully we'll get a day, and I can crank it up to get ready."

Martinez added safety comes first, though: "Everyone would need to get tested—players, coaches, the media, security guards. If you come in the ballpark, you get tested. I'm not an expert on this virus, but you need daily testing."

Manfred said in April the league would "turn over every stone" in its effort to play this year, but he said they'd have to wait for "more information" before any final decisions were made.

Opening Day was originally scheduled for March 26.