Major League Baseball today concluded their investigation into the fairly elaborate sign-stealing operation mounted by the Houston Astros. They used centerfield cameras to observe the signs put down by the opposing catcher and had various means to relay that information to the batter at the plate.
The League interviewed players and coaches from the 2017 Astros team, and came up with this nine-page report summarizing their findings. They describe the sign-stealing scheme as largely driven by then bench coach Alex Cora and veteran player Carlos Beltran, but neither is assessed any penalties in this report. Manfred specifically says that he is not holding players responsible for these rule violations; more on Cora below.
Here are the key punishments levied on the Astros:
- GM Jeff Luhnow will be suspended until the end of the 2020 season
- Manager A.J. Hinch will be suspended until the end of the 2020 season
- Former Assistant GM Brandon Taubman is ineligible to work in baseball until the end of the 2020 season
- The Astros will forfeit their 2020 and 2021 first and second round draft picks
- The team will pay a $5 million dollar fine
Alex Cora has the distinction of having been named as more or less the mastermind of the 2017 Astros sign stealing scheme, while also serving as the manager of the 2018 Red Sox, a team also under investigation for perhaps slightly less egregious but still illegal sign stealing. His punishment will be announced once the Red Sox investigation is completed. We have to assume at minimum he will face a multi-year suspension.