A 2017 letter from Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman concerning sign-stealing is set to be unsealed following an appeals court's ruling on the matter, according to Brendan Kuty of NJ.com. The Yankees have previously objected to the letter being released, with team president Randy Levine citing "privacy interests."
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Judge Debra Ann Livingston wrote the following as part of her opinion on Monday, per Kuty:
"In light of plaintiffs' attempted use of the letter in their proposed Second Amended Complaint and the district court's discussion of the letter in explaining its decision to deny plaintiffs' request for leave to amend in their reconsideration motion, and because MLB disclosed a substantial portion of the substance of the letter in its press release about the investigation, we conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion in unsealing the letter, subject to redacting the names of certain individuals."
The Yankees and MLB appealed U.S. District Court judge Jed S. Rakoff's ruling that the letter should be unsealed back in 2020. Team attorney Jonathan Schiller said in a statement that "There is no justification for public disclosure of the letter."
The letter had become a matter of some significance in a class action lawsuit filed against the league, the Houston Astros, and the Boston Red Sox by DraftKings users. The plaintiffs previously stated that they believed Manfred's letter to the Yankees proved his "duplicity" on the matter of improper sign-stealing.
Former Marlins president David Samson discussed the Yankees letter on Tuesday's Nothing Personal with David Samson podcast. Listen below:
The Astros were, of course, fined and stripped of draft picks heading into the 2020 season after a league investigation found they illegally used technology to steal signs. The Red Sox were later punished to a lesser degree for their own sign-stealing scandal. Both the Red Sox and the Yankees have been punished in the past for stealing signs, with the aforementioned letter allegedly stemming from a brouhaha between the two teams concerning the use of Apple Watches.
Judge Rakoff claimed the contents of the letter have been mostly revealed in league-issued press releases. Andy Martino of SNY has previously reported that Manfred's letter "did not say Yankees engaged in sign stealing."