Astros: Jim Crane fires AJ Hinch and Jeff Luhnow after Major League Baseball findings

Astros manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow suspended for 2020 season

Baseball rocked by cheating scandal as Astros GM, manager suspended

Houston Astros owner Jim Crane fired manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow on Monday, shortly after Manfred announced that both were suspended for a year due to their involvement in the club's sign-stealing scandal.

Manfred's report (which can be read here) also laid much of the blame on then-Astros bench coach Alex Cora, who is now manager of the Boston Red Sox. However, it was soon reported that the Astros engaged in sign-stealing during their run in 2017 and that Major League Baseball would begin an in-depth investigation.

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Cora was not disciplined as part of this investigation, but the report states that he could face penalties at the conclusion of the ongoing investigation into allegations of illegal sign-stealing by the Red Sox during the 2018 season.

The team is also subject to a $5 million fine, the largest permitted amount under the current collective bargaining agreement. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow each were suspended for the full 2020 season. (Former Astros outfielder Carlos Beltran, now manager of the New York Mets, is also named in the report, but is not directly accused of any wrongdoing). He added that bench coach Joe Espada is very capable considering he has interviewed with several teams for managerial positions. Manfred said no Astros players will be disciplined because he decided in September 2017 to hold a team's manager and GM responsible. The Astros used it to decode signs.

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While MLB's report says the sign-stealing was "player-driven", it said Luhnow and Hinch knew it was happening and did nothing to stop it. Hinch and Luhnow were both considered among the best at their jobs in baseball prior to MLB's investigation. Players used several methods to get the information to the batter, most famously banging on a trash can placed in the hallway between the dugout and the clubhouse at Minute Maid Park. "Generally, one or two bangs corresponded to certain off-speed pitches, while no bang corresponded to a fastball". There was no evidence signs were stolen during the 2018 playoffs. That season, Boston reportedly used its video replay room to illegally steal signs.

Taubman can apply to Manfred for reinstatement after the World Series, and any future violations of Major League Rules would lead to a lifetime ban.

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