Houston Astros Expected to Receive Severe Punishment for Sign-Stealing Scandal

Houston Astros
HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 22: Houston Astros logo in the outfield in the eighth inning during an MLB baseball game between the Houston Astros and the Kansas City Royals, Friday, June 22, 2018 in Houston, Texas. Kansas City Royals defeated Houston Astros 1-0. (Photo by: Juan DeLeon/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

After “the most thorough investigation that the [MLB] commissioner’s office has ever undertaken,” they are expected to hand down one of the harshest penalties in the sport’s history to the Houston Astros by the end of the month.

This investigation came after former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers told The Athletic that the team used video from a live camera feed to steal a catcher’s signs and that someone in the dugout would hit a trash can to communicate the pitch type to batters in real time. MLB rules prohibit teams from using electronic equipment for sign-stealing.

Houston Astros Expected to Receive Severe Punishment for Sign-Stealing Scandal

The Investigation

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred promised that the electronic-sign stealing investigation would be “as thorough as humanly possible.” As a result, Major League Baseball has reviewed 75,000 emails and instant messages, and “has interviewed at least three current major league managers and an untold number of players and dozens of major league personnel.”

Although the Astros have been quiet about the investigation, they have said that they are fully cooperating with MLB and have spoken to investigators about the allegations.

“What I can say is I’ve committed my time and energy to cooperate with MLB,’’ manager A.J. Hinch said. “I’ve talked to them a couple times, and we continue to work with them as they navigate the investigation, and now we’re waiting with everything in their hands.”

“I can’t comment on this investigation, except to say we’re fully cooperating,” general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “I’ve been part of the cooperation. I’ve talked to MLB and we’ve done everything that we need to do to support it. That’s really all I’m going to say at this point until there’s some resolution.”

The Punishment

This will be the first public punishment for electronic sign-stealing since the Boston Red Sox were disciplined in 2017. Although it’s unclear what exactly this punishment might entail, it seems that Luhnow and Hinch might be getting the worst of it. A one- or two-year suspension for Hinch is possible, and Luhnow could receive a lifetime ban. After all, Atlanta Braves general manager John Coppolella was banned for life after violating the international signing rules in 2017. And many consider the Astros’ cheating to be “more egregious” than the Braves’.

Other potential punishments could be the biggest fine in MLB history and losing multiple first-round draft picks.

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  1. Let’s think out of the box on punishment. How about starting the season with minus -3 wins?
    Reducing their roster to 38 for a few months, losing 2 players and then going back to 40.
    A lower team salary cap. Yes to reduced draft picks and fines for the organization and personal suspensions to management

    • I think a lifetime ban for both the General Manager and Manager are called for. Loss of 1st Round Picks for 2 years and a huge fine would be appropriate.

    • That certainly benefits the AL West teams, but does nothing for the team that was damaged… The LA Dodgers. I believe that there should be some kind of reparations that benefit the team that was injured.


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