Jeff Luhnow has been on the defensive since being suspended by Major League Baseball, all the way up to the point where the former Astros' general manager is enacting litigation against his former team.
Most recently, Luhnow took issue with how MLB treated the Red Sox in the investigation into Boston's 2018 allegations compared to the league's treatment of Houston.
Appearing on the final episode of "The Edge: Houston Astros scandal" -- a podcast that can be heard on Radio.com and Cadence13 -- Luhnow insinuated the Red Sox got off easy when it came to their discipline for the 2018 incident.
"They were caught twice— they were caught in 2017, and then they were caught again in 2018 — and that's recidivism," Luhnow said. "I don't hear anybody asking how the front office there could not know. The only people that got punished were a video person, and they pretty much let everybody else off the hook, so it doesn't pass the sniff test for me or for a lot of baseball fans as well."
Luhnow added, ""The easiest solution for Rob Manfred, for MLB — for any sport commissioner, really — is to try and pin it all on one team. Even better if you can pin it on a couple of individuals on that team – then you basically say, look, we found the problem. We eradicated it. And it's no longer a problem.
"Anything beyond that starts to suggest it's a systemic problem. We know it's a systemic problem... I think everybody in the industry does. MLB does, too, but they don't really want to talk about it. And I think it's a lot easier just to say it was one team. It's a good way to sort of put it in one corner and move on."
Red Sox manager Alex Cora -- who was suspended for a season due to his role I the 2017 cheating case for the Astros but exonerated in the 2018 Red Sox investigation -- appeared on OMF with Glenn Ordway, Lou Merloni and Christian Fauria and explained how he believed his former boss was off base.
The only person who was disciplined in MLB's ruling on the 2018 Red Sox was video coordinator J.T. Watkins, who was suspended for one season with the understanding he couldn't fill the same role upon his return. (Watkins now serves as a scout for the Sox.)
"You know what, actually I haven’t talked to Jeff in a while," Cora said. "If we have to talk, we’ll talk. But I don’t agree with some of the comments. I went through the process. Actually, I went through both processes and I’m not proud of it. And I can tell you the same way the department of investigaton did it with the Houston Astros, they did it with the Boston Red Sox. I think it actually took longer, the Red Sox investigation. I’ll leave it at that. But if somebody is going to talk about both processes it’s me — and I’m not proud of it, obviously — and I know how it went down, how tough it it was, what they did. I do believe the Department of Investigation did their due diligence in both investigation and they decided what they decided."
In the lengthy interview on WEEI, Cora detailed multiple aspects of the cheating scandal, including his thoughts on MLB's assertion in its initial report that he served as the mastermind for the entire production.
"Everybody was involved, that’s the bottom line," Cora said. "That’s the way I see it. Fair or not, if people wanted to say that during the investigation they had their reasons. One thing for sure, I was very open throughout. The way it came out, it really hurt. To see the report and everything that was saying I was as surprised as anybody because that was the first time I saw the report. It is what it is. I think I paid the price. I think some of the players were very open about it when they were asked about me and Carlos (Beltran) and I’ll leave it at that. There’s nothing I can do to erase the past. The only thing I can do is to live in the moment, keep moving forward. Obviously there is other stuff I have to do as a person to keep getting better. But there is nothing I can do as far as the things they said that the report said. I know I was wrong and that’s it."