Major League Baseball is attempting to curb technology-aided sign-stealing by implementing new guidelines and punishments for perpetrators who are caught in the act, sources told Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated.
The league is banning the use of all non-broadcast outfield cameras located inside the foul poles, while team replay officials who work inside clubhouses will be monitored by a security expert.
Other changes being implemented by commissioner Rob Manfred will include the banning of television monitors from the tunnels between dugouts and clubhouses, and subjecting TVs in the bullpen and clubhouse - with the exception of the one used for replay purposes - to a delayed feed, Verducci reports.
MLB is forcing all managers and heads of baseball operations to sign documents indicating they're aware of the new rules and will be held responsible if their team is caught, Verducci adds. Penalties for offending teams could include the loss of draft picks and international bonus money.
Organic sign-stealing has long been a part of baseball; runners on second base will often try to read a catcher's signals and then silently relay the next pitch to their teammate at the plate. But the use of outside technology to steal signs - including the filming of opposing catchers from center field, a tactic that one general manager told Verducci was used by at least six teams last year - has become a growing problem and has led to increased paranoia around the sport.
The issue reached a head during last year's postseason when both the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox suspected the Houston Astros of attempting to steal signs during the ALDS and ALCS, respectively. MLB ultimately cleared the Astros of any wrongdoing.