MLB suspended Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch for one year following an investigation that found the team used technology to cheat in 2017, the same year the Texas baseball franchise won the World Series.
UPDATE: Houston Astros owner Jim Crane fired Jeff Luhnow and AJ Hinch.
On Monday afternoon, reports from several MLB sources came to light that the league had suspended the Astros’ GM and manager. ESPN’s Jeff Passan tweeted out: “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.”
MLB wasn’t done with the punishments, they also penalized the franchise. According to Passan, the Astros were also fined $5 million, plus will lose their first and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 drafts.
Additionally, MLB will fine the Astros $5 million and take away their first- and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 drafts, sources tell ESPN. The Astros will not lose their World Series title.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said that the Astros stole signs from opponents in the 2017 season. The MLB interviewed 68 witnesses, including 23 current and former Astros players, and found the cheating allegations credible.
Manfred said that the Astros “continued to both utilize the replay review room and the monitor located next to the dugout to decode signs for the remainder of the regular season and throughout the postseason” despite being warned in a September 15, 2017, memorandum from the commissioner about stealing signs.
“While it is impossible to determine whether the conduct actually impacted the results on the field, the perception of some that it did cause significant harm to the game,” Manfred said in a statement.
No players will be suspended for the role in the sign-stealing scandal, Manfred penalizing players was “both difficult and impractical.” Adding that the “club’s general manager and the field manager are responsible for ensuring that the players both understand the rules and adhere to them.”
The season that the Astros allegedly cheated was coincidentally the same season that Houston won the World Series, their only championship in the team’s history. In 2017, the Astros finished 101–61 and won the World Series after defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games.
There is also said to be “harsh” punishment coming for Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora as well.
“Cora was involved in developing both the banging scheme and utilizing the replay review room to decode and transmit signs,” Manfred said. “Cora participated in both schemes, and through his active participation, implicitly condoned the players’ conduct.”
Reminder: The MLB banned Pete Rose for life for gambling on the sport, a seemingly far less nefarious crime than cheating your way to a World Series title.