Major League Baseball has ruled that the Houston Astros are guilty of stealing signs, including during the 2017 season when the team won the World Series.
MLB began its investigation back in November after a report from The Athletic which highlighted allegations made by A's pitcher Mike Fiers who was a member of the Astros at the time.
As a result of its findings, the MLB suspended manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for a year. Houston also forfeits its first- and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 MLB Drafts as part of the penalties. In addition, the Astros were fined $5 million, which is the highest allowable fine under the Major League Constitution.
Houston has now fired both Hinch and Luhnow. Hinch had been under contract through 2022, and Luhnow was under contract through '23.
MLB did not fire any players as part of the incident.
"There are two very important points I want to make today: I have higher standards for the city and the franchise, and I am going above and beyond MLB's penalty," Houston owner Jim Crane said in a news conference at Minute Maid Park that was reported on by MLB.com. "Today, I have made the decision to dismiss AJ Hinch and Jeff Luhnow. We need to move forward with a clean slate, and the Astros will become a stronger organization because of this today."
In a statement, commissioner Rob Manfred said that significant discipline was in order:
I base this finding on the fact that the club’s senior baseball operations executives were given express notice in September 2017 that I would hold them accountable for violations of our policies covering sign stealing, and those individuals took no action to ensure that the club’s players and staff complied with those policies during the 2017 postseason and the 2018 regular season.
The conduct described herein has caused fans, players, executives at other MLB clubs, and members of the media to raise questions about the integrity of games in which the Astros participated. And while it is impossible to determine whether the conduct actually impacted the results on the field, the perception of some that it did causes significant harm to the game.
A nine-page report of the investigation’s findings revealed “absolutely no evidence” that Astros owner Jim Crane was aware of any of the team’s conduct.
The Los Angeles Dodgers lost to the Astros in the World Series in 2017. The Dodgers issued the following statement in response to Major League Baseball’s investigation into the Houston Astros:
All clubs have been asked by Major League Baseball not to comment on today’s punishment of the Houston Astros as it’s inappropriate to comment on discipline imposed on another club. The Dodgers have also been asked not to comment on any wrongdoing during the 2017 World Series and will have no further comment at this time.