With just over a month remaining before pitchers and catchers report to spring training, Major League Baseball dropped a bombshell on the Houston Astros and attempted to set a precedent that using electronic means to steal signs will not be tolerated. In case you are just getting caught up, here is what you need to know about the penalties handed down by commissioner Rob Manfred.
Major League Baseball suspended Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch, without pay for one year. The suspension began on Monday and will continue through January 13, 2021. Houston will also forfeit its first and second round draft picks for the next two seasons and the team was fined the maximum $5 million.
In response to the harsh penalties levied by Major League Baseball, team owner Jim Crane announced that he dismissed both GM Luhnow and manager Hinch in a press conference Monday afternoon.
Both Luhnow and Hinch issued statements Monday afternoon accepting responsibility for their actions while apologizing to the Astros organization, their fans and the Houston community at large.
Also named in Major League Baseball’s report was Red Sox manager Alex Cora who served as bench coach for the Astros in 2017 and played a key part in the development both the banging scheme and utilizing the replay room to decode and transmit signs. Manfred stated in Monday’s report that he will wait until the investigation into the Red Sox is complete before addressing Cora’s situation but it seems that harsh punishment is likely coming.
Also appearing in the report was new Mets manager Carlos Beltran who was a player on the 2017 team. He will not face suspension or any other discipline for his involvement at this time.
Talking Chop’s Demetrius Bell took a look at the Astros’ punishment and compared it to that of former Braves’ GM John Coppolella and the international sanctions that were levied against Atlanta.
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The Atlanta Braves come in at No. 7 on Buster Olney’s list of the Top 10 teams for the 2020 season.
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The Oakland Athletics acquired outfielder Tony Kemp from the Chicago Cubs. Minor league infielder Alfonso Rivas is headed to Chicago to complete the swap.