Aug 10, 2011, 10:41 AM EST
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.
Jan 31, 2015, 7:10 PM EST
Ernie Banks, who played 19 seasons in the major leagues, made an enormous impact on the game of baseball. That has been evident in the wonderful stories that have been shared over the last week.
Jan 31, 2015, 6:05 PM EST
The Rays added some depth, signing reliever Ronald Belisario on Saturday. It appears they’ll be adding infielder Alexi Casilla as well.
Jan 31, 2015, 5:30 PM EST
Baxter appeared in four games with the Dodgers last season and owns a .225/.331/.342 batting line in the majors. He’ll always be aces with Mets fans, though.
Jan 31, 2015, 4:39 PM EST
Richards emerged as one of the best pitchers in the American League last season before tearing his left patellar tendon in August.
Jan 31, 2015, 4:11 PM EST
Hendrickson turned 40 last June and hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2011, but he still hopes to continue his playing career.
Jan 31, 2015, 3:15 PM EST
Padres general manager A.J. Preller has been very active on the trade front this offseason, but he might not be done yet.
Jan 31, 2015, 2:05 PM EST
Orioles slugger Chris Davis was on hand for the team’s annual FanFest today and opened up about the 25-game Adderall suspension which put an end to his disappointing 2014 campaign and left him on the sidelines during the playoffs.
Jan 31, 2015, 12:40 PM EST
The Brewers remain in the market for a closer, but trade talks for Papelbon don’t have much momentum at the moment.
Jan 31, 2015, 11:25 AM EST
Aardsma pitched exclusively in the Cardinals minor league system last year, but he’s hoping to get back on the radar in 2015.
Jan 31, 2015, 10:10 AM EST
While MLB still needs to give their approval, it appears that Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada is one step closer to finally signing with a team.
Jan 31, 2015, 8:56 AM EST
Buxton repeats as MLB.com’s top prospect despite an injury-plagued 2014.
Jan 30, 2015, 10:50 PM EST
Neal Cotts battled numerous injuries and nearly called it quits before the Rangers signed him to a minor league deal in 2012.
Jan 30, 2015, 9:40 PM EST
Joe Kelly has some bold words for non-believers.
Jan 30, 2015, 8:30 PM EST
Yasiel Puig meant it in a good way!
Jan 30, 2015, 7:20 PM EST
The Rockies addressed their depth on Friday, signing reliever Rafael Betancourt and utility infielder Omar Quintanilla to minor league deals.
Jan 30, 2015, 6:10 PM EST
The Red Sox are willing to trade reliever Edward Mujica, according to a report.
Jan 30, 2015, 5:11 PM EST
This is gonna turn some heads.
Jan 30, 2015, 4:55 PM EST
MLB has been suspending guys by the truckload lately.
Jan 30, 2015, 4:26 PM EST
He hit .293 with 21 homers and a .930 OPS in 102 games last season, topping 200 plate appearances for the first time at age 31.
Jan 30, 2015, 4:10 PM EST
A couple of pitchers who don’t profile well in a hitters’ environment for a couple of catchers who have shown a little at the plate. Advantage: Braves.
- Chris Davis opens up about his Adderall suspension: “It was a moment of weakness” 33
- MLB.com names Byron Buxton as baseball’s top prospect for second straight year 30
- Yasiel Puig says the Cardinals are the Dodgers’ “principal rivals,” not the Giants 94
- Jayson Werth to serve five days in jail for reckless driving 48
- Keith Law’s top 100 prospects list is out 39
- Great Moments in Media Arrogance: Marshawn Lynch edition 173
- Nationals sign former Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen 11
- Ichiro Suzuki’s deal with the Marlins is worth $2 million 35
- Great Moments in Media Arrogance: Marshawn Lynch edition (173)
- Rob Manfred, new Major League Baseball commissioner, suggests ban on defensive shifts (118)
- Why “Deflategate” would never happen in baseball (96)
- Yasiel Puig says the Cardinals are the Dodgers’ “principal rivals,” not the Giants (95)
- The Yankees are going to try to get out of paying A-Rod his contract incentives (83)