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Tampa Bay Rays News and Links: Houston penalized for 2017 rule violations

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2019 World Series Game 7 - Washington Nationals v. Houston Astros Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Around the league

Yesterday’s big news was MLB’s announcement that they had concluded their investigation into the Astro’s electronically enhanced sign stealing operation from 2017. They also announced penalties to key personnel — GM Luhnow and Manager Hinch most notably. The team will also lose 2020 and 2021 draft picks.

There is still another shoe waiting to drop here. The league is also investigating the Red Sox, who are similarly accused of using video to observe opponents’ signs. Their team is likely to face penalties as well.

Red Sox Manager Alex Cora, who was also named for his role in the Astros scandal, is likely to receive significant punishment.

In response, Astro’s owner Jim Crane announced that both Luhnow and Hinch had been fired.

Carlos Beltran, at the time a veteran player on the team, was mentioned in the report as an architect of the scheme. Although Manfred made the decision not to penalize players, it will be interesting to see whether the Mets, who have just hired Beltran as their manager, take any action. Note this interesting comment from the New York Post’s Joel Sherman:

Here are some reactions to the announcement.

ESPN has a good explainer on all things Houston sign-stealing, from the accusations to the punishments.

Ken Rosenthal and Evan Dreilich, whose research helped break this story and led to this investigation, call the penalties “unprecedented” ($).

Neil Solondz has some interesting thoughts about the implications of Astros suspensions/firings. Should they be forced to hire from within the organization?

Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs and T.J. Quinn of ESPN have talked to GMs who think the punishment was not severe enough, since the Astros still got a championship out of this. It seems to me, though, that a manager would be more likely to crack down on this behavior if he knows he could lose his job.

Writing for the Tampa Bay Times, John Romano also thinks that both the players and the team ownership should have been punished (or punished more severely). He also takes a look at a 2017 Carlos Beltran at bat against the Rays where there is evidence of the garbage can-banging plot. ($)

Some current and former players have weighed in as well.

Trevor Bauer has opinions:

Phil Hughes wants some at bats back. This whole thread is pretty funny (minus the obnoxious Twins fan), especially when Lenny Dykstra (!) decides to weigh in:

Rays News

In other news, the Rays signed a few minor league contracts with spring training invites:

And the Kiermaier family is psyched for 2020:

The future of the Tropicana Field site is uncertain, but we can still learn a lot about its past. Local architect Sarah Jane Vatelot has published a book about the area’s history pre-baseball called Where Have All the Mangoes Gone? We’ve missed the book launch event, but those interested in local history can purchase the book here.