Joe Torre reportedly warned the Astros and Red Sox what was going to happen if they were in fact cheating.
By then, it was already too late.
Torre met with the Astros and Red Sox before they faced off in the 2018 ALCS and warned them that any secret cheating — like illegal sign stealing — they may have been doing would not remain a secret forever, according to ESPN’s Karl Ravech. The meeting included the general managers and managers from both teams — Jeff Luhnow, Dave Dombrowski, AJ Hinch and Alex Cora — and was led by Torre, MLB’s chief baseball officer at the time.
“Torre basically said to the teams, both of them and those people and anyone else that was in the room, look, if you’re inclined or have gotten away with or are doing anything that would violate the rules that you are all aware of or should be aware of, you’re gonna have to understand at some point, there’s going to be a player, or players or a front office person that’s going to leave your team, go to another team and basically rat you guys out. Basically tell the dirty secrets,” Ravech said on ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight” podcast.
“Whether Joe Torre was aware at that point of what was coming from Mike Fiers, and there’s no evidence to believe that, but I was told that message and that meeting scared the heck out of those guys in that room to the point that they acknowledged ‘we’re in trouble, we’re dead, so we cannot continue to particular behavior.’ In the case of the person or persons that told me that, the behavior changed.”
Of course, it was Fiers — a pitcher on the 2017 Astros now with the Athletics — who finally went public in November and told The Athletic about the club’s illegal sign-stealing program. That led to MLB investigating the claims in full and outing the Astros as cheaters during the 2017 season and part of 2018.
The Red Sox, who went on to win the ALCS and World Series after Torre’s meeting, are still under investigation for allegedly using electronics to steal signs in 2018. The final MLB report on the findings has been pushed back after commissioner Rob Manfred originally said he hoped to have it done by the start of spring training.
The fallout of the Red Sox investigation is not believed to be as harsh as it was for the Astros, according to multiple reports. But the longer it is drawn out, the more questions surround it.
“The length of time this is taking is uncomfortable, let’s put it that way,” Ravech said.
MLB suspended Luhnow and Hinch for a year — before the Astros promptly fired them both — fined the club $5 million and docked them draft picks. Cora, who was Hinch’s bench coach in 2017, parted ways with the Red Sox for his role in the scandal.