MLB notebook: Red Sox probe nearly completed


Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday he plans to finish his investigation of the Boston Red Sox’s role in the alleged electronic sign-stealing scandal before the opening of spring training on Wednesday.

Just like in the investigation of the Houston Astros, Manfred, attending an owners meeting in Orlando, Fla., said his ruling will not include punishment on any Red Sox players, but left the door open for that possibility if future violations are discovered.

“We have the right to discipline players right now. I’m absolutely convinced of that fact,” Manfred said, via ESPN. “We made a decision in the Houston investigation that in order for us to get the facts that we needed, somebody had to get immunity.”

Manfred also disclosed Thursday that MLB plans to adopt new guidelines for the use of real-time video during games in 2020 in order to discourage improper behavior. “I think you should assume that before the season starts we will have new guidelines with respect to the use of video equipment,” he said. “I think we have too much video available in real time right now.”

—The Los Angeles Dodgers are signing infielder Max Muncy to a three-year, $26 million contract extension, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported.

The deal includes a $13.5 million option for a fourth year, with a $1.5 million buyout, and would keep the 29-year-old under contract through his arbitration years and possibly his first free-agent year in 2023, per the report.

Muncy made the All-Star team and batted .251 with 35 homers and a career-high 98 RBIs in 141 games last season. He added three home runs and seven RBIs during the five-game loss to the Washington Nationals in the National League Division Series.

—Manfred said the proposed deal to make Steve Cohen the majority owner of the New York Mets is off.

The Mets said in December that Cohen would take control of the team from Fred Wilpon and son Jeff, the chief operating officer, in five years. But on Tuesday, the New York Post reported the deal was “on life support” after Cohen became unhappy with Fred Wilpon changing terms of the deal at a very late stage.

Manfred didn’t detail what led to the end of the deal, but he said reports that the Wilpon family led to its demise weren’t accurate. Cohen, 63, paid $40 million for an 8 percent stake of the team in 2012. The proposed deal between the sides would have led to Cohen’s acquisition of 80 percent of the team.

—Major League Baseball will get a fresh perspective for providing communication between teams, players and umpires, hiring Gregor Blanco and Nick Hundley as senior directors of baseball operations.

The move ends the playing careers of both. Blanco, 36, did not play in the major leagues last season but did see action in 118 games at the Triple-A level for the New York Mets. Hundley, 36, played in 31 games with the Oakland Athletics last season and 19 more in the minor leagues.

Aside from being liaisons between the league, its clubs, players and umpires, both will aid in on-field discipline, provide insights with on-field rules and provide assistance with topics such as technology and instant replay. They also will be involved in youth initiatives.

—Minnesota Twins pitcher Jose Berrios lost his arbitration case, and will receive $4.025 million after requesting $4.25 million. He’ll still earn a substantial raise, though, after making $620,000 last season.

Arbitrators Fredric Horowitz, Andrew Strongin and Margaret Brogan made the decision. MLB teams are now 2-0 after Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Shane Greene lost his case on Wednesday. He will earn $6.25 million after requesting $6.75 million.

After finishing 14-8 with a 3.68 ERA, 195 strikeouts and 51 walks in a career-high 200 1/3 innings in 32 starts in 2019, Barrios went to arbitration for the first time.

—Field Level Media