‘Yankee Letter’ reveals Yankees sign stealing never reached heights of Astros scandal

New York Yankees play at Yankee Stadium on Opening Day.
Yankee Stadium.
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to accusations that the New York Yankees may have been involved in a sign-stealing scheme that was similar in magnitude to that of the Houston Astros’ scandal, they are safe. 

The highly anticipated “Yankee Letter” appeared to clear the Bronx Bombers of any major wrongdoings that reached the same heights as the Astros sign-stealing scheme that rocked the baseball world. While the letter from commissioner Rob Manfred to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has not been unsealed, its contents were reported on by SNY’s Andy Martino

It did reveal that the Yankees had used the video replay room during the 2015 and 2016 seasons to decode sign sequences and pass them to a runner on second base to then pass to the batter. However, it found that the Yankees had not used YES Network cameras to steal signs, which the Red Sox had accused them of. 

It also didn’t say that it had found the Yankees stole signs during the 2017 season. 

The Bombers were fined $100,000 for violating the Replay Review Regulations, which hadn’t been known prior to Tuesday’s report. 

“During our investigation into the Red Sox’s misconduct, [Redacted] informed the Department of Investigations that the Yankees used a similar scheme to that of the Red Sox to decode opposing Clubs’ signs and relay them to the batter when a runner was on second base,” the letter read in part. “[Redacted] — who initially noticed that the Red Sox were using a smartwatch to pass information to their players — admitted to the Department of Investigations that during the 2015 season and the first half of the 2016 season, [Redacted], provided information about opposing Club’s signs to players and members of the coaching staff in the replay room at Yankee Stadium, who then physically relayed the information to the Yankees’ dugout. [Redacted] also admitted that during that same time period, in certain stadiums on the road where the video room was not proximate to the dugout, used the phone line in the replay room to orally provide real-time information about opposing Club’s signs to Yankee coaches on the bench.”

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The “Yankee Letteer” had been the focus of plenty of media speculation, its contents appear to be more benign than anything. The letter came into focus after DraftKing contestants filed a federal lawsuit alleging damages from the sign-stealing scandal. 

The case was eventually thrown out, but U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff ordered the letter from Manfred to the Yankees be unsealed. The organization fought the ruling but had its final appeal to keep the letter sealed dismissed last week. 

The investigation stemmed from an incident during the 2017 season when a Yankees replay coordinator spotted a Red Sox trainer using his apple watch to relay signs.