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Astros Hammered With Sanctions, Suspensions By MLB; Team Starts To Clean House

Manager and General Manager both fired by team after suspensions were announced
Astros

CBS SPORTS (KFSM) – Major League Baseball issued harsh penalties against the Houston Astros on Monday after a lengthy investigation into the team’s use of technology to steal signs. The sanctions include one-year suspensions for Astros manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow as well as a $5 million fine and the loss of future draft picks.

Here are Houston’s penalties:

  • One-year suspension for general manager Jeff Luhnow.
  • One-year suspension for manager A.J. Hinch.
  • The loss of first- and second-round draft picks in both 2020 and 2021.
  • A $5 million fine.
  • The placement of former Astros assistant GM Brandon Taubman on baseball’s ineligible list.

Since the news broke, the Astros have since fired both Luhnow and Hinch along with other members of the front office.

Stealing signs is not explicitly against MLB‘s official rules, but where the Astros crossed the line over is their use of technology (a camera/monitor system) to gain information. In a bombshell report published by The Athletic in November, right-hander Mike Fiers, who pitched for the Astros in 2017, gave an on-the-record account of how team used a center-field camera to pick up the opposing team’s catcher’s signs and then relayed the signs to Astros batters. The relay method used to alert hitters of an incoming off-speed pitch supposedly involved banging a trashcan in the dugout.

According to a report released last December, Astros personnel admitted to MLB that the club used a center-field video camera to rely pitching signs in real time. MLB’s months-long investigation started shortly after The Athletic’s report and it covered the 2017, 2018 and 2019 seasons. Investigators interviewed 60 witnesses and gathered 76,000 emails related to the Astros sign-stealing scheme.

The league’s discipline against the Astros is precedent setting. It’s expected that the Boston Red Sox will also face severe punishment for their alleged use of cameras to steal signs during their 2018 championship season. In 2017, the Red Sox were fined for using Apple Watches as part of a sign-stealing scheme, and Manfred warned teams caught cheating in a similar way would be severely disciplined going forward. MLB’s investigation into the Red Sox remains ongoing.