In his January report detailing Houston’s illegal use of technology to steal signs, Commissioner Rob Manfred revealed that the league’s investigators determined that the Astros developed their elaborate scheme in 2017 and deployed it throughout the playoffs, including during the World Series, when they defeated the Dodgers in seven games.
“It’s unfortunate, for sure,” said Watson, whom the Dodgers acquired from the Pirates at the 2017 Trade Deadline. “I have some friends on that team, so it’s a little different being in their shoes. It was a hard-fought series. Those seven games are seven games I’ll never forget. There are some interesting moments throughout that series that you look at now, but yeah, it’s too bad. Hopefully we got it all cleaned up and we can go forward for now. “
Watson said he didn’t suspect anything nefarious was afoot during the World Series and didn’t do anything out of the ordinary to combat potential sign stealing by the Astros. He made five relief appearances for the Dodgers, allowing only one unearned run over 3 2/3 innings.
“That’s nothing we were concerned with,” Watson said. “We were just out there playing. You can go down the rabbit hole on the internet. People have really dug in on this, I think. I haven’t looked at all that stuff, but I’ve heard about that stuff, and it’ll be interesting to take a look.”
It’s hard to know whether the Astros’ rule-breaking played a role in swaying the outcome of the World Series, but Watson recognizes the folly of relitigating the past.
“It just sucks that it’s a couple years later,” Watson said. “You look back at every little moment, and it’s, ‘What if this,’ or ‘What if that.’ But games were played, and it’s over, so we’ll just keep going.”
Watson isn’t the only member of the Giants with ties to the story. President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi served as the Dodgers’ general manager in 2017, and he weighed in on the scandal earlier this month as well.
"I think the impact of that activity can be a little overstated," Zaidi said of the Astros’ illegal sign-stealing. "I think it's going to be interesting now, when people have video and people are going to break down a lot statistically, of when things supposedly happened and not. It'll just be interesting to see what comes out of that.
"I think even when you talk to players there's a real difference of opinion on what kind of impact it has. It's clear what is within the rules and isn't within the rules, but things that aren't within the rules, it's not clear how impactful those things are and how much they can affect the outcome of games. Everybody has their opinion on that. That's always been a question of mine. I know a lot of other people share that skepticism."