Houston Astros' Jeff Luhnow, AJ Hinch suspended 1 season for sign-stealing


Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were suspended for the entire 2020 season by Major League Commissioner Rob Manfred on Monday for their failure to stop a player-run sign-stealing scheme.

Manfred's report (which can be read here) also laid much of the blame on then-Astros bench coach Alex Cora, who is now manager of the Boston Red Sox.

Major League Baseball has meted out discipline in the case of the Houston Astros' illegal sign-stealing in 2017.

In addition to penalties against Hinch and Luhnow, the Astros have also been fined $5 million and docked their first- and second-round draft picks in both 2020 and 2021.

Manfred said Hinch was aware of the system but did not tell Luhnow.

Crane said that he did not think the Astros' World Series title in 2017 was "tainted". Using technology is prohibited. "And while it is impossible to determine whether the conduct actually impacted the results on the field, the perception of some that it did causes significant harm to the game". Former assistant general manager Brandon Taubman, who was sacked in October, was placed on MLB's ineligible list for one year.

"Neither one of them started this, but neither one of them did anything about it", Crane said.

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Cora was mentioned 11 times in the league's report, with witnesses describing his involvement in cheating throughout the 2017 season.

Cora, who served as Houston's bench coach in 2017, was determined to have played a key role in the Astros' improper practices that season.

■ The investigation did not find that the Astros used the banging scheme in 2018; but the replay room was used to decode signs and send them to the dugout.

Astros reporter Brian McTaggart quoted Crane, noting that the club will move forward without Hinch and Luhnow as spring training approaches. Manfred said no Astros players will be disciplined because he decided in September 2017 to hold a team's manager and GM responsible.

Baseball's investigation began when former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers, now with Oakland, made the allegations in a report by The Athletic on November 12. A feed from a camera in center field would be shown on the screen, and players would watch the feed to decode signs and bang on a nearby trash can to communicate the upcoming pitch type.

Former assistant GM Brandon Taubman, who was sacked in October after making inappropriate comments towards female reporters during the team's ALCS clinching celebration, was also placed on baseball's ineligible list.