Major League Baseball’s investigation of the Houston Astros for electronically stealing signs during their 2017 championship season came to a close on Monday, and the organization was found guilty of misconduct.
MLB determined the Astros used a camera in center field to steal signs both during the regular and postseason. The league could have gone a variety of different directions with their penalties, but what they ultimately landed on was suspensions for general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch, a $5 million fine (the maximum allowed), as well as the loss of first- and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 MLB Drafts.
Astros owner Jim Crane then took his own action by firing Luhnow and Hinch. Notably, however, MLB decided not to strip the Astros of their championship or penalize any of the players that were involved.
The organization that lost the most from both the Astros and Boston Red Sox stealing signs was the Los Angeles Dodgers as they fell to both teams in back-to-back trips to the World Series.
Former Dodgers player David Freese, who retired at the conclusion of the 2019 season, took to social media to commend MLB’s punishments while also calling on them to strip the Astros of their title:
Didn’t really expect the punishments to be this harsh. Good for MLB stepping up. Still don’t know what’s more frustrating tho, an ex teammate of the WS title team talking publicly about his team cheating or so many guys being down to use a damn trash can lol. Should take the ring
— David Freese (@david23freese) January 13, 2020
Freese won a World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011 and was named the MVP, so he certainly knows what it takes to win while doing things the right way. He was not with the Dodgers when they lost to the Astros in 2017, but he was a part of the 2018 team that was defeated by the Red Sox.
It will be interesting to see if these penalties are harsh enough to detract teams for stealing signs in the future, or if this slap on the wrist only creates an even bigger problem moving forward.
The Red Sox took action by mutually agreeing to part ways with Cora as manager. Though that is not expected to have an impact on MLB’s ongoing investigation.
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