Wondering why no players received punishments for the Astros' sign-stealing scandal? We now may have the answer.
While Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred's explanation was that it would be "difficult and impractical" to punish players, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal the real reason was something much more formal and secretive. The WSJ reports that Manfred struck a deal with the Major League Baseball Players Association prior to its investigation stating that the players would have immunity in exchange for their testimony.
The agreement was put in place according the report because MLB believed it wouldn't win any subsequent grievances levied by players. The MLBPA had that reality in its back pocket because the Astros' front office never shared any of MLB's warnings about cheating following the 2017 case involving the Red Sox using Apple Watches to relay signs.
The WSJ story goes to explain that the same immunity is in place for the current ongoing investigation into the Red Sox using video to relay sign sequences in 2018.
The agreement allowed MLB to interview 23 current and former Astros players, with none of them being penalized for what Manfred wrote to a "player-driven" exercise.