The Houston Astros have been the focal point of baseball for much of the offseason as their sign-stealing scandal has captured headlines since its revelation. In the aftermath of Major League Baseball handing down its punishment, Astros manager AJ Hinch was fired along with GM Jeff Luhnow. The club has been scrutinized endlessly, and seemingly every at-bat over the course of the past three seasons has become a source of amusement for those searching for continued transgression.
Hinch sat down with Tom Verducci to discuss his former club, addressing the public for the first time since his termination. MLB Network will air the full interview on Friday at 6 p.m. Clips from the interview were made available on Thursday and included soundbites from Hinch:
“We’re going to have to live and move forward and be better in this sport, but unfortunately no one can really answer that question. I can’t really pinpoint what advantages or what happened or what exactly would have happened otherwise, but we did it to ourselves.”
These comments hardly signal contrition from Hinch despite the widespread disdain for Houston, given how significant an impact their scandal had on the careers of others in the past three seasons. The extent to which the Astros benefited from cheating will never be known, but being talented is not an excuse for cheating the game. If the Astros were capable of winning the World Series without the added benefit of prior knowledge of each pitch, they should have done so. As it stands, they will go down in history alongside the “Black Sox” as embarrassments to the sanctity of baseball.
Cory gives a rundown of the events of the week along with several talking points that include contract extensions, the number 16, and Luiz Gohara.
Kris delves into the Braves outfield, which has been the subject of much skepticism this offseason. Atlanta enters Spring Training with five legitimate major league outfielders.
Speaking of the Atlanta outfield, newly-acquired Marcell Ozuna is certain to draw a lot of attention in camp. Mark Bowman breaks down the topics of conversation with regards to Ozuna this season.
The Braves top this list:
1. Atlanta Braves
Atlanta missed out on both Anthony Rendon and Josh Donaldson, leaving Austin Riley and Johan Camargo to man third base. GM Alex Anthopoulos has a treasure trove of prospects if he chooses to take a run at a trade for Bryant, who would add the big bat many feel the defending NL East champions still need. The Braves have also been linked to Nolan Arenado, the other big-name third baseman being discussed in trade rumors.
The Mets just find a way to ruin everything.
Case in point... although I would certainly welcome the chance to watch a healthy Yoenis Cespedes again. He may play for a division rival, but he is one of the most exciting talents in baseball when at full strength.