Major League Baseball handed the Houston Astros harsh punishment on Monday for illegally stealing signs during their championship 2017 season.
Commissioner Rob Mandred announced that Houston manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow have both been suspended for one year. For the club, they were additionally fined $5 million and have been stripped of their first and second round draft picks in 2020 and 2021. There were no fines or suspensions handed to any players.
Shortly after MLB’s announcement, the Astros fired both Hinch and Luhnow.
During the 2014 season, Major League Baseball had adopted a challenge-based replay system, that had installed live television monitors close to dugouts. The Astros had a camera set-up in centerfield that that was hooked up to the monitors and would relay loud banging noises from the dugout in order to tipoff the batter at what pitch was coming next. During their investigation, MLB found that the Astros had repeatedly misused the system throughout the 2017 postseason, giving them an unfair advantage on their way to the World Series title.
The guilty verdict, topped with the suspensions and fines, tarnishes the Astros’ title. Despite MLB not finding any evidence that Hinch used or condoned the use of the replay system, they concluded that he should have put an end to the cheating immediately. The same went for Luhnow. Hinch’s suspension is the third-longest ever handed to a manager in baseball history.
Astors bench coach Joe Espada has been named the interim manager.
All eyes now turn to the Boston Red Sox and manager Alex, as they are also under investigation for suspected sign stealing during the 2018 season. Cora was the bench coach for the Astros in 2017.