On Monday afternoon, Major League Baseball laid down a severe punishment to the Houston Astros after completing their investigation into the team’s sign-stealing scandal.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow have been suspended for one season. And former Astros assistant general manager Brandon Taubman will be placed on baseball’s ineligible list.
The team will also forfeit their first and second round draft picks in the 2020 and 2021 drafts, as well as paying a hefty $5 million fine.
The scandal first surfaced after a report in The Athletic last November. In the article, former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers stated on-the-record that the team would use their centerfield camera to pick up signs between opposing pitchers and catchers. Those signs were then relayed to Astros batters.
Fiers was one of four players to admit the team’s wrongdoing.
Sources – including Mike Fiers – confirm that the Astros were stealing signs in 2017 using an outfield camera, a monitor in the tunnel and banging on a trash can to convey pitches.@Ken_Rosenthal & @EvanDrellich on an issue that permeates the league: https://t.co/1uDvm4hNBK pic.twitter.com/BCSmlOzejt— The Athletic MLB (@TheAthleticMLB) November 12, 2019
While stealing signs isn’t necessarily illegal in baseball, the use of technology to do so is expressly forbidden.
Jeff Passan of ESPN first broke the news on Twitter:
BREAKING: Houston Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch have been suspended for one year after an MLB investigation found the team used technology to cheat during its World Series-winning 2017 season, sources familiar with the punishment tell ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 13, 2020
According to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred’s statement earlier, Astros’ owner Jim Crane was not involved and unaware of the sign-stealing.
Intro of a nine-page statement from Commissioner Rob Manfred on the Houston investigation. pic.twitter.com/LupM6pKCbH— Jen McCaffrey (@jcmccaffrey) January 13, 2020
Houston won the World Series in 2017, the season in question. They defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in a thrilling seven game series.
The Boston Red Sox were the last team to be disciplined by Major League Baseball for cheating. In 2017, the Yankees accused Boston for using an Apple Watch to steal signs. The Red Sox were fined an undisclosed amount after the investigation.
Current Red Sox manager Alex Cora is embroiled in this scandal as well.
Passan went on to report that while no players, including new New York Mets manager Carlos Beltran, will be disciplined as a result. Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora, however, will be. Punishment for Cora is expected to be severe, too. Cora was seen as the ringleader for the sign-stealing scandal.
No players were disciplined by Major League Baseball in the Astros' investigation. While Mets manager Carlos Beltran was part of it, he was a player at the time and thus was not suspended.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 13, 2020
Discipline for Red Sox manager Alex Cora is coming. It is going to be harsh, per sources.