Luhnow, Hinch Fired, Team Loses Draft Picks in Sign Stealing Scandal

Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and Manager A.J. Hinch both got one-year suspensions from MLB.
Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and Manager A.J. Hinch both got one-year suspensions from MLB. Photo by Jack Gorman
On Monday, Major League Baseball handed down some of the stiffest punishments in the history of the sport in the wake of the sign-stealing allegations against the Houston Astros. General Manager Jeff Luhnow and Manager A.J. Hinch both received one year suspensions that began now and end at the conclusion of the 2020 World Series.

Team owner Jim Crane took it one step further by firing both in the aftermath.

In addition, the team loses all first and second round draft picks in 2020 and 2021, and will be fined $5 million, the maximum allowed in baseball.

It was a particularly stinging rebuke of the entire baseball side the Astros organization. In their statement, MLB, took particular aim at the culture of the Astros baseball operations in general and Luhnow specifically:

"But while no one can dispute that Luhnow’s baseball operations department is an industry leader in its analytics, it is very clear to me that the culture of the baseball operations department, manifesting itself in the way its employees are treated, its relations with other Clubs, and its relations with the media and external stakeholders, has been very problematic."

There will be more to dissect in the coming days, but here are a couple of interesting additional tidbits from the ruling.

Jim Crane was unaware and upset.

The Astros owner, according to MLB's report, was unaware of what his baseball staff was doing in terms of the use of technology for sign stealing, and was troubled by the findings. He gave MLB open and unfettered access to everything they wanted in pursuit of their investigation. In his press conference, he made it clear he will not tolerate this type of behavior.

Hinch did not condone the sign stealing but didn't act to stop it.

Hinch admitted he was aware of what was happening and didn't like he. He supposedly even damaged a pair of monitors used in the effort, but never told players not to do it.

Alex Cora will be next.

The former bench coach, now head coach of the Red Sox, was integral in putting together the entire plan. The Red Sox remain under investigation and given the findings in the report, Cora will be the next head on the chopping block.

Brandon Taubman out for year.

Taubman, who was the team's assistant GM until being fired after taunting female reporters during the ALCS clubhouse celebration, was suspended from the league for a year alongside Hinch and Luhnow. It was clear from the report that MLB found his behavior particularly intolerable and rightfully so.

Here's the MLB statement:
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke