Yankees Rumors: Latest Buzz on 2017 Sign-Stealing Investigation

Martin FennContributor IIIJune 17, 2020

Hal Steinbrenner, principal owner of the New York Yankees, talks with reporters during MLB baseball owners meetings, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

The 2017 Houston Astros unwillingly became the talk of the baseball community when the details of a sign-stealing investigation were revealed and unraveled last fall.

Similarly, players and fans alike waited with bated breath when the 2018 Boston Red Sox were accused of using technology to implement their own system.

Now, another American League powerhouse is under the microscope: the New York Yankees.

On Friday, Evan Drellich of The Athletic reported a New York judge ruled that a letter sent by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred to the Bronx Bombers in 2017 be unsealed. It is said to contain details of yet another sign-stealing scandal.

Judge Jed Rakoff said the letter was not to be unsealed until June 19 so as to allow the Yankees an appeal. New York has done just that.

Drellich reported Monday that the Yankees and MLB formally submitted their appeal, adding "the public release of Manfred's 2017 letter to [general manager Brian] Cashman is unlikely to be decided until August at the earliest, according to a person with knowledge of the case."

As Drellich noted in his first report, a Yankees official said: "We're not doing this to cover up a smoking gun." Similarly, MLB officials feel revelations from the letter's contents might "undermine its ability to conduct internal investigations in the future by undermining teams' faith in their confidentiality,” as Rakoff wrote. Of course, given recent investigations, there is room for skepticism. 

The news has garnered a number of different reactions from around the league. Astros shortstop Carlos Correa seemed to take a shot at the Yankees on Instagram.

His caption is a direct copy from a previous tweet from Yankees star Aaron Judge after Mike Fiers spoke to The Athletic about Houston's sign-stealing methods.

Other Astros stars—such as Lance McCullers, Alex Bregman and Josh Reddick—also reacted on Twitter (via Matt Young of the Houston Chronicle).

The appeal gives all parties some additional time, which is imperative given the current labor war between MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Yankees president Randy Levine said Tuesday the players need to re-engage the owners in negotiations to commence the 2020 season. He argued finances are not the issue in negotiations. Rather, he cited purported differences over "health and safety protocols."

In any case, the contents of Manfred's letter to the Yankees remains sealed, for now. Come August, though, baseball might have to brace itself for yet another sign-stealing scandal.