Dave Roberts hasn’t yet read “Winning Fixes Everything,” Evan Drellich’s wide-ranging book released this week that detailed the Houston Astros’ 2017 sign-stealing scandal.
But, during a scrum with reporters at Cactus League media day Wednesday, the Dodgers eighth-year manager flatly denied the accusations made in the book by various anonymous sources against his team for their own alleged sign-stealing transgressions.
“I’ve heard a couple little excerpts,” Roberts said. “To be honest, I haven’t thought too much about it. I’m not going to go there with that.”
The Dodgers were accused numerous times by sources in the book of engaging in their own illegal sign-stealing system during both 2017 — when the Astros used their infamous trash can system during their World Series-winning season — and 2018.
One allegation claimed the Dodgers set up cameras in center field of Dodger Stadium during the 2017 World Series that were connected to an iPad in the dugout, giving them the ability to decode catcher’s signs in real time and relay them to their hitters.
Another anecdote shared by an unnamed opposing player alleged the Dodgers stationed players in their video room during games to try and decode signs — including a rumored exchange between then-Dodgers Joc Pederson and Chase Utley during the 2018 World Series that was witnessed by an MLB official.
At another point in the book, an anonymous member of the Dodgers 2017 team said the squad did “indeed did use a baserunner scheme, determining sign sequences with the help of their video room” — which would be similar to a sign-stealing system the Boston Red Sox were punished for using the following season. The Red Sox beat the Dodgers in five games in the 2018 World Series.
However, another member of the 2017 Dodgers cited by Drellich said such a system was common practice around the sport before Major League Baseball cracked down on it after 2018.
The Dodgers never received any punishments related to the allegations made in the book. And on Wednesday, Roberts said the Dodgers only engaged in legal methods of sign-stealing during the seasons in question, such as having baserunners pick up a catcher’s sign and then signal them to the hitter at the plate.
“That’s the school of baseball,” Roberts said. “That’s gamesmanship. There was never anything illegal about it.”
Roberts did confirm the Dodgers were one of several teams investigated by the league after the 2018 season for sign-stealing accusations — which were common around baseball at the time as teams grew more suspicious of one another — but that the probe “came up with nothing.”
Roberts also said that, ever since MLB issued stricter rules banning the use of electronic sign stealing in 2018, the Dodgers have adhered to the new standards.
“All the things that went down, punishments and all that stuff, MLB did a great job of being thorough,” Roberts said. “That’s not my job to be the judge and jury.”
When asked about having one of the players from his 2017 team — which lost to the Astros in seven games in the World Series — cited in the book alleging a video-based sign stealing system, Roberts became irritated.
“I want to know who that anonymous person is,” he said. “I don’t know anything about that.”
As for other allegations made against his club in the book — including a quote from an anonymous Red Sox member who called the Dodgers “the biggest cheaters in the whole [expletive] industry” — Roberts said he wasn’t surprised.
“Sometimes people can’t differentiate between a competitive advantage and using your baseball acumen,” he said, later adding: “If you can’t give good sequences, then that’s your problem. And if you can’t disguise them well enough, that’s on you.”