Astros owner Jim Crane relieved manager A.J HInch and general manager Jeff Luhnow following the MLB’s investigation of the team sign-stealing during the 2017 postseason and 2018 regular season.
The league’s investigation found the Astros guilty of using cameras located in center field of Minute Maid Park to relay signs in real-time. The cameras were wired to send a live feed to a monitor in the Astros dugout tunnel where the signs were decoded and relayed to batters via the banging of a trashcan.
Major League Baseball suspended both Hinch and Luhnow without pay for one season lasting though the 2020 World Series. The Astros also were stripped of first and second round draft picks in both 2020 and 2021. Under the MLB constitution, the Astros were also given a maximum fine of $5 million.
Manager A.J Hinch said, “While evidence consistently showed I didn’t endorse or participate in the sign stealing practices, I failed to stop them and I am deeply sorry,” in a statement following his release.
Similar to Hinch, GM Luhnow’s statement defended his name before anything else stating, “I am not a cheater. Anybody who has worked closely with me during my 32-year career inside and outside baseball can attest to my integrity.”
Crane stated in a press conference earlier today that he will oversee baseball operations and the team will quickly look for someone to manage the team.
In regard to Hinch and Luhnow, Crane said, “Neither one of them started this, but neither one did anything about it.”
Crane also added, “We need to move forward with a clean slate.”
As for Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora, his discipline has yet to be given as MLB continues their investigation of similar sign-stealing allegations during the Red Sox 2018 season. Cora served as the Astros bench coach during the 2017.
Major League Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. released a nine-page statement, which included individual articles on Hinch, Luhnow, Crane, Cora and former assistant GM Brandon Taubman.
Manfred stated, “Cora was involved in developing both the banging scheme and utilizing the replay review room to decode and transmit signs. Cora participated in both schemes, and through his active participation, implicitly condoned the players’ conduct.”
Sources told MLB Insider Jeff Passan Cora’s punishment will be “harsh.”
Commissioner Manfred’s full statement can be found here.