We’ve been waiting since October to know how MLB was going to handle their punishment against the Astros for their sign-stealing scandal, and that interest only grew once the Red Sox were implicated for their own scheme in 2018. Well, now we know.
BREAKING: Per sources, MLB’s penalties for #Astros include:— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 13, 2020
*One-year suspensions for GM Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch.
*Losses of 1st and 2nd round draft picks in both 2020 and ‘21.
*A fine of $5M.
Full story and more context with @EvanDrellich: https://t.co/djvKEYFiC7
I’ve seen a lot of people I normally agree with calling this a light penalty, which has me rethinking my feeling that, well, it’s the opposite. It seems like a big deal to me. Losing your top two draft picks for two years is huge, especially considering the bonus pool money involved as well. I do agree with people that felt international bonus pool money should have been involved as well. Hinch and Lunhow being suspended until the end of the World Series probably won’t affect the team a ton, but it’s still a deterrent. Both guys are losing a year of salary — which is big even for guys making as much money as them — and their reputations take a massive hit. I think this part was more about deterring future organizational leaders in the future than hurting the Astros in 2020 specifically. I could be wrong, but I think it’s a solid — if not slam dunk — deterrent. The $5 million fine is nothing, but it’s the maximum fine allowed by the league.
What we really care about here is what this means for the Red Sox. As has been pointed out here and numerous other places, the specific methodology from 2018 was not quite as egregious as the one the Astros used in 2017. Maybe that will lessen the draft pick penalty for Boston, but I’m not convinced of that, particularly since the Red Sox were warned by the league about this in the final month of the previous season.
It’s Alex Cora who needs to worry about this more, though. He just saw his current bosses go down for a full year, and it’s looking like it’ll be worse for him. Not only was he, but his name is all over the report from MLB regarding their investigation and he is portrayed as the architect of the scheme in Houston before bringing over the one used in Boston in 2018. At this point I’m assuming the Red Sox will have a different manager at the helm in 2020, and that could be the best-case scenario for Cora.
The Astros fired both Hinch and Lunhow.
Jim Crane just fired Jeff Luhnow and AJ Hinch.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 13, 2020
Again, can’t bode well for Cora.