Skip to content

ESPN goes in-depth on Blue Jays sign-stealing allegations

Aug 10, 2011, 10:41 AM EDT

Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion Getty Images

Four players have confirmed to ESPN that they’ve witnessed Blue Jays hitters being relayed signs from the center-field stands at Rogers Centre.

An Outside The Lines reports details the allegations and an incident involving one of the players and Jose Bautista.  The report claims that a man in center field, situated perfectly behind the pitcher in a batter’s eyeline, was gesturing to indicate offspeed pitches for Toronto hitters.

The man caught the eyes of one team, and a player sent a message to Bautista following an at-bat in a game last season:

“We know what you’re doing,” he said. “If you do it again, I’m going to hit you in the [f------] head.”

Bautista acknowledged the confrontation, but he denied that the Jays have anything to do with sign-stealing.

“First of all, I don’t even know how you can do that,” Bautista said. “And second of all, it’s obviously something that’s not legal in the game. We do not cheat.”

But opposing teams certainly think they do.  The Yankees and Red Sox have both been throwing down multiple signs even with no one on base when they face the Jays at Rogers Centre.  ESPN even cites our report from a Red Sox game in June, though without feeling the need to give us any credit.  The Yankees’ Russell Martin said the Jays were stealing signs last month, though he believed it was baserunners responsible for the deed.

Once again this year, Blue Jays hitters are faring much better at home than on the road.  They’ve hit .261 with 71 homers in 55 games in Toronto, compared to .249 with 57 homers in 60 games elsewhere.

Here are the individual OPS splits for all of the Jays with 180 at-bats this season:

Jose Bautista: 1.155 home, 1.030 road
Yunel Escobar: .957 home, .699 road
Edwin Encarnacion: .921 home, .670 road
Adam Lind: .807 home, .755 road
Eric Thames: .794 home, .684 road
Rajai Davis: .735 home, .512 road
J.P. Arencibia: .697 home, .757 road
Travis Snider: .687 home, .561 road
Corey Patterson: .659 home, .671 road
Juan Rivera: .629 home, .702 road
Aaron Hill: .595 home, .587 road

Interestingly enough, two of the three players to actually perform better on the road were given away in trades last month.

The argument against the Jays’ stealing signs is that they aren’t actually winning at home.  They’re 28-27 at Rogers Centre this year and 30-30 on the road.  Last year, though, they went 46-35 at home, compared to 39-42 on the road.  Those 2010 Blue Jays hit .253 with 150 homers at home, compared to .243 with 107 homers on the road.

This story isn’t going away, so it’d be nice if MLB decided to take an interest at some point.  Contacted for ESPN’s story, a spokesman responded: “Major League Baseball has never received a complaint from any club about sign stealing in Toronto, and this is first [we've been] made aware of it.”

///

Update: Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopolous will address the sign-stealing charges at 3:45 p.m. EDT this afternoon.

Latest Posts
  1. Local news digging deep into the Giants-Royals matchup

    Oct 20, 2014, 7:07 AM EDT

    Realistic vector magnifying glass

    Four full days off before the World Series has all of us hurting for content, frankly.

  2. Indians altering conditioning plan for Jason Kipnis

    Oct 19, 2014, 11:05 PM EDT

    Jason Kipnis Jason Kipnis

    Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis had a poor showing in 2014 and the club is changing up his conditioning program in attempt to help him regain some speed.

  3. Replay reviews and reversals are down thus far in the post-season

    Oct 19, 2014, 10:15 PM EDT

    Oakland Athletics v Texas Rangers Oakland Athletics v Texas Rangers

    Replay review hasn’t had as much of an effect on post-season outcomes as some had previously thought.

  4. A.J. Pierzynski plans to play again in 2015

    Oct 19, 2014, 9:25 PM EDT

    A.J. Pierzynski Getty Images

    A.J. Pierzynski wants to play baseball again in 2015, it just won’t be with the Cardinals.

  5. Two radio stations in San Francisco are refusing to play Lorde’s “Royals” during the World Series

    Oct 19, 2014, 8:35 PM EDT

    Lorde Lorde

    Two radio stations in San Francisco are refusing to play Lorde’s song “Royals” until the World Series is over.

  6. Athletics showing interest in Dave Hansen for vacant hitting coach position

    Oct 19, 2014, 8:15 PM EDT

    Dave Hansen Getty Images

    The Athletics lost hitting coach Chili Davis to the Red Sox on Sunday. They are now showing interest in Dave Hansen to fill the position.

  7. Report: Red Sox hire Chili Davis as hitting coach

    Oct 19, 2014, 7:10 PM EDT

    Chili Davis Getty Getty Images

    It appears the Red Sox have a new hitting coach in former major leaguer Chili Davis.

  8. Tim Lincecum cut Saturday workout short due to a stiff neck

    Oct 19, 2014, 6:05 PM EDT

    Tim Lincecum woke up with a stiff neck and cut his workout short on Saturday, but is still expected to be ready when the World Series starts on Tuesday.

  9. Braves sign Pedro Ciriaco to minor league deal

    Oct 19, 2014, 3:03 PM EDT

    pedro ciriaco getty Getty Images

    From Baseball America’s transaction page comes word that the Braves have signed utilityman Pedro Ciriaco to a minor league contract.

  10. Red Sox could make Yoenis Cespedes available

    Oct 19, 2014, 1:24 PM EDT

    cespedes getty Getty Images

    Boston has an outfield logjam that needs to be addressed this winter.

  11. Chris Young hoping to re-sign with Mariners

    Oct 19, 2014, 11:17 AM EDT

    chris young mariners getty Getty Images

    Chris Young was one of the best bargains of the 2014 season, posting a 3.65 ERA and 1.23 WHIP across 165 innings for the Mariners on a mere one-year, $1.25 million deal. He can officially become a free agent five days after the World Series and will probably be looking to cash in one final time at age 35. But winding up back in Seattle may be his preference …

  12. Video: Giants discuss the World Series

    Oct 19, 2014, 9:32 AM EDT

    Buster+Posey+St+Louis+Cardinals+v+San+Francisco+Fu8YybRm-lEl Getty Images

    Buster Posey, Joe Panik, Pablo Sandoval, Javier Lopez, Jake Peavy and a few other Giants talk about their upcoming World Series matchup against the Royals …

  13. Rangers GM Jon Daniels wants to re-sign Colby Lewis

    Oct 18, 2014, 11:10 PM EDT

    colby lewis rangers getty Getty Images

    Rangers starter Colby Lewis suffered an elbow injury which marred his 2012-13 seasons, and he struggled mightily in 2014, but that isn’t stopping GM Jon Daniels in his pursuit to keep the right-hander in Arlington.

  14. Former Pirates GM Dave Littlefield to join the Tigers to replace Mike Russell

    Oct 18, 2014, 10:30 PM EDT

    tigers logo Getty Images

    The Tigers have quickly filled the void left by top scout Mike Russell, who joined the Diamondbacks, adding Dave Littlefield into the mix.

  15. Adam LaRoche wants to finish his career with the Nationals

    Oct 18, 2014, 9:40 PM EDT

    Adam LaRoche Getty Images

    In Adam LaRoche’s ideal world, he would finish out the rest of his career with the Nationals. Unfortunately for him, the Nationals are expected to move Ryan Zimmerman to first base.

  16. If Phillies move on, Domonic Brown says he will “definitely have a job somewhere else”

    Oct 18, 2014, 8:50 PM EDT

    Domonic Brown Domonic Brown

    Domonic Brown thinks he’ll be able to find a starting job if the Phillies aren’t interested in keeping him around in 2015.

  17. Travis Ishikawa two days later, on pennant-winning homer: “It still doesn’t seem like it was me.”

    Oct 18, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT

    Travis Ishikawa Travis Ishikawa

    The baseball world wasn’t the only one surprised that it was Travis Ishikawa who hit a walk-off home run to send the Giants into the World Series. Ishikawa still isn’t sure it was him, either.

  18. Fan gives Travis Ishikawa his NLCS-winning home run ball, gets World Series tickets

    Oct 18, 2014, 7:10 PM EDT

    The man who generously gave Travis Ishikawa his NLCS-winning home run ball has been rewarded by the Giants with four tickets to Game 3 of the World Series at AT&T Park.

  19. Giants rolling with Madison Bumgarner, Jake Peavy in first two games of World Series

    Oct 18, 2014, 6:15 PM EDT

    Madison Bumgarner Madison Bumgarner

    Madison Bumgarner and Jake Peavy will start Games 1 and 2 of the World Series against the Royals.

  20. Royals tab James Shields, Yordano Ventura to start first two games of World Series

    Oct 18, 2014, 5:22 PM EDT

    james shields getty Getty Images

    The Royals will host the first two games of the World Series.

Featured video

Yet another WS run for the Giants
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. Y. Molina (2583)
  2. T. Ishikawa (2470)
  3. M. Bumgarner (2341)
  4. L. Cain (2076)
  5. J. Shields (2062)