Astros fire GM Jeff Luhnow, manager A.J. Hinch amid cheating scandal results

Chris Lingebach
January 13, 2020 - 3:46 pm
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Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch have both been fired in the wake of Major League Baseball's findings into the organization's 2017 cheating scandal.

MLB released its findings on Monday into allegations made in November that the Astros had cheated, using video technology to steal signs from opposing teams during the 2017 season, in which they won the World Series. Use of video technology in such a manner is strictly forbidden.

Luhnow and Hinch were both suspended effective immediately, and will remain suspended until the day following the completion of the 2020 World Series. However, in a press conference after MLB released its findings from the investigation, Astros owner Jim Crane announced that both Luhnow and Hinch have been fired for their role in the scandal.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred mentioned that there was "absolutely no evidence" showing Crane was aware of any of the conduct described in the league's report.

"Crane is extraordinarily troubled and upset by the conduct of members of his organization, fully supported my investigation, and provided unfettered access to any and all information requested," Manfred said.

Former Astros Assistant GM Brandon Taubman – who was fired by the cub in October after making "offensive and insensitive comments" to a group of female reporters at the conclusion of the 2019 ALCS – has also been suspended for one year. Taubman is currently not employed in Major League Baseball and will not be permitted to work in baseball during the time of his suspension.

He will be eligible to apply for reinstatement with the league at the conclusion of his suspension. "If Taubman is found to engage in any future material violations of the Major League Rules, he will be placed on the permanently ineligible list," Manfred says.

In addition to individual punishments, the Astros organization must forfeit its first- and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021. Commissioner Manfred also fined the Astros $5 million, the maximum allowable amount under the Major League Constitution.

When the Red Sox were caught using technology to decode signs in Aug. 2017, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred says he issued a memorandum, the same day the information was released to the public, reiterating the rules regarding the use of electronic equipment to steal signs while also putting all clubs on notice that future violations "would be taken extremely seriously by my office."

"I specifically stated in the memorandum that the General Manager and Field Manager of Clubs would be held accountable for any violations of the rules in the future," Manfred writes. "Thus, all Clubs were put on notice as of September 15, 2017 that any use of electronic equipment to steal signs would be dealt with more severely by my office."

"Notwithstanding the publicity surrounding the Red Sox incident, and the September 15th memorandum that I sent to all Clubs," Manfred continues, "the Astros continued to both utilize the replay review room and the monitor located next to the dugout to decode signs for the remainder of the regular season and throughout the Postseason."

MLB is actively investigating allegations that the Red Sox engaged in impermissible electronic sign-stealing during their 2018 World Series season. Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who served as bench coach for the Astros in 2017, could be subject to punishment for both alleged cheating schemes, although that would come at a later time.

"Cora was involved in developing both the banging scheme and utilizing the replay review room to decode and transmit signs. Cora participated in both schemes, and through his active participation, implicitly condoned the players' conduct," Commissioner Manfred notes. "I will withhold determining the appropriate level of discipline for Cora until after the DOI completes its investigation of the allegations that the Red Sox engaged in impermissible electronic sign stealing in 2018 while Cora was the manager."

You can read the full report for yourself here.