Aug 10, 2011, 10:41 AM EDT
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.
Jul 31, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT
The Sox did not get hosed here. Don’t believe that for a second.
Jul 31, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT
Emilio Bonifacio was available to the Cubs on a minor-league deal after being released by the Royals in February and now five months later they’re going to get something in return for the 29-year-old speedster.
Jul 31, 2014, 10:02 AM EDT
We didn’t see this coming!
Jul 31, 2014, 9:46 AM EDT
It just gets more complicated to make a trade after 4pm today.
Jul 31, 2014, 9:16 AM EDT
It was quite a tribute to Greg Maddux, actually.
Jul 31, 2014, 8:55 AM EDT
Trade rumors? Heck, he looks like he’s going to be a key piece for the Dodgers down the stretch.
Jul 31, 2014, 8:10 AM EDT
The State of the Trade Deadline, eight hours before the music stops.
Jul 31, 2014, 6:59 AM EDT
Always go 100%. Even if you’re not totally into what you’re doing. That includes singing power ballads.
Jul 30, 2014, 11:19 PM EDT
From FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi comes word that the Marlins and White Sox “have discussed a possible trade” involving left-handed starter John Danks.
Jul 30, 2014, 10:02 PM EDT
Dan Uggla’s stay with the Giants lasted nine days. MLB.com’s Chris Haft reports that San Francisco has released the veteran second baseman, who went 0-for-11 with a walk and six strikeouts in four games after being called up from Triple-A Fresno on July 25.
Jul 30, 2014, 9:15 PM EDT
Albert Pujols can barely move these days and for some reason went with a pop-up slide into first base, but this throw on Wednesday night from Manny Machado was still fantastic …
Jul 30, 2014, 8:22 PM EDT
Derek Jeter’s farewell tour continued Wednesday night at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas with another set of retirement gifts.
Jul 30, 2014, 7:37 PM EDT
CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Blue Jays are targeting Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera — who is known to be available — and would ask him to play second base.
Jul 30, 2014, 6:49 PM EDT
Oscar Taveras has been mentioned as a possible centerpiece in trade talks this week for top-tier starting pitchers like David Price and Jon Lester, but if Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak is to be believed that was all speculation from the outside.
Jul 30, 2014, 6:13 PM EDT
The 44-64 Astros could jump into this seller-friendly market before Thursday’s 4 p.m. ET trade deadline. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Houston is “looking to move” first baseman and designated hitter Chris Carter.
Jul 30, 2014, 5:06 PM EDT
Now that it’s clear he can’t ramp up for 2014, the Mets have cleared Matt Harvey to throw.
Jul 30, 2014, 4:46 PM EDT
White Sox reliever Nate Jones has been on the disabled list with a back injury since the first week of the season, but now he’s got an even bigger problem.
Jul 30, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT
It’s been a rumor for a good while, but now it’s going where rumors go when they die.
Jul 30, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT
The very essence of the trade deadline just played out on Twitter
Jul 30, 2014, 3:51 PM EDT
Injuries derailed what was a very promising career for Chavez while with the A’s, but he bounced back and got healthy enough to thrive in part-time roles for the Yankees and Diamondbacks.
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