Astros Manager Hinch, GM Luhnow Suspended Then Fired In Sign-Stealing Scandal


The penalties for the Astros cheating scandal have been handed down, and they’re substantial.

Major League Baseball announced on Monday that manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow have been suspended for the entirety of the 2020 season. The Astros will also be fined $5 million and will lose their first and second round draft picks in both 2020 and 2021.

After the suspensions were revealed, Astros owner Jim Crane announced that he had subsequently fired Hinch and Luhnow. 

The punishments handed down are in response to a lengthy investigation into allegations that Houston was stealing signs during the 2017 season, which ended with the franchise’s first ever World Series title. 

To get to that World Series, the Astros beat the Yankees in seven games in the American League Championship Series. New York led 3-2 when things shifted back to Texas for the final two games, but the Astros won two in a row to advance. Game 7 was Joe Girardi’s final game managing the Yankees.

The Astros celebrate after defeating the Yankees by a score of 4-0 to win Game Seven of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 21, 2017 in Houston, Texas.Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

That series was incredibly close, so the question arises: would the result have been different if Houston hadn’t had an unfair advantage? There won't officially be an asterisk placed on 2017, but, at this point, there might as well be.

The NCAA likes to vacate national titles when the offenses are serious enough, but Major League Baseball chose not to do that here. Still, teams like the Yankees and Dodgers can feel particularly agreed. One of those two teams might have had another World Series title if the Astros had played by the rules.

There is a little bit of relief in Queens as new Mets manager Carlos Beltran has not been punished for his role in the scandal. Beltran was a player on that 2017 Astros team during what was his final year before retirement. None of the players involved have been disciplined.

Bad news could soon be coming to Boston too. The Red Sox are under investigation for alleged illegal use of their video room to steal signs in 2018. Punishment for Alex Cora won’t be announced until that investigation has completed too, but it seems like he will also receive a lengthy suspension, as he was also apparently heavily involved in the Astros’ scheme.