Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers spoke this week about the accusations surrounding the 2018 team and denied any wrongdoing by the club.
We’re just days away from spring training kicking off around the league and the Red Sox are still smack dab in the middle of the conversation. Between the inevitable trade involving Mookie Betts, parting ways with their manager, and the current investigation into an alleged cheating scandal, Boston has stayed relevant all winter. Granted, not for the reasons, we’d all like but there’s nothing we can do about that.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has yet to reveal the results of his investigation into the possible replay room usage of the 2018 Red Sox. While that looms over the heads of Chaim Bloom and the ownership group it’s putting some moves on hold, such as naming a new manager. For the most part, the Red Sox have been quiet about the investigation except for J.D. Martinez and now Rafael Devers.
Both have come out and denied any wrongdoing by the squad during their World Series campaign. The team is being accused of improperly using their replay room in order to decode opposing teams’ signs.
A few weeks ago it was reported by Dan Roche of WBZ-TV and reiterated by Lou Merloni on his WEEI radio show OMF, that little is being found in the way of cheating by the team. That mixed with players being so vehement in their belief that nothing happened feels like a good sign for Boston.
While getting prepared for spring training Devers spoke with Stan Grossfeld of the Boston Globe and he made his thoughts on the subject pretty clear.
“No, no, I don’t think so,” he says emphatically through an interpreter. “We didn’t cheat. We have a lot of talent. We don’t need to cheat, and we became champs without cheating.”
Hearing the confidence from Raffy that nothing happened in 2018 that should tarnish what that team did should be a sigh of relief for Red Sox Nation. Obviously denying any malfeasance should be commonplace from anyone accused but as we saw with the Astros, that’s not always the case. Some will say the two sluggers are denying so strongly as to try and divert any attention from the possible sign stealing.
I see the responses from Martinez and Devers as bold proclamations that just because the team saw an increase in offense during the championship run, it wasn’t due to any shady behavior. It was the 2018 season that gave us the first glimpses of what Raffy is capable of and then he kicked the door down in 2019.
He should be in the discussion around the best third basemen in the league, especially if he continues to improve in 2020. It’s just a joy to watch him play the game as it’s hard to find any footage of him on the field without a giant grin on his face.
This cheating scandal has loomed over all of baseball since the Astros were found guilty of their actions from 2017. Right around then the report from Evan Drellich and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic was released and a whole new storm rolled in.
The Red Sox are still waiting to hear exactly what, if any, evidence was found in regards to the 2018 allegations. If we’re to believe Martinez and Devers then Manfred won’t be finding much of anything and can go about our business.
“They can continue investigating, but that’s why they haven’t found anything, because we didn’t cheat,” he says.
Though the Red Sox themselves have yet to feel any punishment from this mess their manager has seen the guillotine. Alex Cora and Boston parted ways shortly after the Houston report became public and the Sox have been without a manager since. Devers was close with the former skipper and has made it known that he’ll be missing his mentor in 2020.
It’ll be interesting to see where this whole thing ends up for the Red Sox but having players come forward so strongly is a good sign, in my eyes. Spring training is right around the corner and if Boston wants to contend in 2020 they’ll need Rafael Devers to be on top of his game. If 2019 was any indication of what this kid is capable of then we may be hearing his name during awards season in December.