MLB Comes Down Hard on Houston Astros In Sign Stealing Scandal

1/13/19 By Tyler Englander

Photo Courtesy of NY Post

Boston, MA- Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred came down hard on the Houston Astros for illegally stealing signs using technology dating back to the 2017 season. Major League Baseball suspended Astros Manager AJ Hinch and General Manager Jeffrey Lunhow for the entire 2020 season. In addition, the Astros were fined $5 million and will lose their first and second round draft picks in both 2020 and 2021. 

The investigation found that two months into the 2017 season “Carlos Beltran (former Astros outfielder and current Manager of the New York Mets), discussed that the team could improve on decoding opposing teams’ signs and communicating the signs to the batter.”  

The report would go onto say, “Alex Cora (Astros Bench Coach at the time and current Manager of the Boston Red Sox) arranged for a video room technician to install a monitor displaying the center field camera feed immediately outside of the Astros dugout.” 

During games, “one or more players watched the live feed of the center field camera on the monitor, and after decoding the sign, a player would bang a nearby trash can with a bat to communicate the upcoming pitch type to the batter.” 

The report also states that the Astros continued to use this practice throughout the postseason when the Astros went on to win the 2017 World Series. It states, “The Astros continued to both utilize the replay review room and the monitor located next to the dugout to decode signs for the remainder of the regular season and the postseason. 

As for Red Sox manager Alex Cora, Manfred did not hand out a punishment at this time with the report stating, “he could face possible penalties at the conclusion of the ongoing investigation into allegations of illegal sing-stealing by the Red Sox during the 2018 season. 

Last week, a Sports Illustrated article revealed the Red Sox were under investigation regarding sign stealing in 2018. Bob Nightengale of USA today tweeted earlier today, “MLB has begun their investigation into #RedSox today, and Alex Cora likely will be suspended for at least one year by the time it concludes.” 

It will be interesting to see what the Red Sox do if Cora is suspended. Red Sox bench coach Ron Roenicke would likely manage the team in the 2020 season. Roenicke has been the Red Sox bench coach since 2018 and managed the Milwaukee Brewers from 2011-2015. 

It should also be noted that Red Sox Chief Baseball Executive Chaim Bloom who was hired in October did not hire Cora. That is something to keep in mind if Bloom decides to move on from Cora. 

There is no timetable as to when Major League Baseball will conclude their investigation.