MLB Suspended The GM And Manager Of The Astros For A Year Over A Sign-Stealing Scandal (UPDATE)

The Houston Astros were a few games away from a second World Series win despite one significant controversy that later saw an assistant general manager fired for inappropriate comments, but a second scandal has resulted in a huge punishment from Major League Baseball this offseason.

Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic reported on Monday that Major League Baseball handed down an historic penalty to the Astros for a sign-stealing scandal that cropped up during the MLB postseason last fall. According to the report, the team was fined $5 million, will lost draft picks and the general manager will be suspended for a year.

The penalties, according to sources with knowledge of Manfred’s decision, include:

• A one-year suspension for general manager Jeff Luhnow.

• A one-year suspension for manager A.J. Hinch.

• The forfeitures of first- and second-round draft picks in both 2020 and ’21.

• A fine of $5 million, the maximum allowed under MLB’s constitution.

• The placement of former Astros assistant GM Brandon Taubman on baseball’s ineligible list.

According to another report, another severe penalty is coming for now-Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora, as the Red Sox were also embroiled in a sign-stealing controversy earlier in 2019.

MLB’s findings became official soon after, with a warning from Major League Baseball that things could get even worse for those involved if it were to happen again.

Should either Luhnow or Hinch be found to engage in “any future material violations” of Major League rules in the future, the offender will be placed on the permanently ineligible list.

It’s a harsh stance on cheating from MLB, as banning someone from baseball is basically as draconian as you can get in sports justice. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred was also highly critical of the culture inside the organization, which put MLB and the team in hot water during the World Series when Taubman, an assistant GM, made targeted comments to female reporters about signing a player with a history of domestic violence. The team denied the reports, then later apologized for his actions.

According to Passan, both suspended Astros were fired later on Monday.

It’s unclear what will happen to the Red Sox and Cora in this situation, but the message MLB is sending is as blatant as the Astros infractions were: if teams get caught cheating like this again, the punishment will be significant.