An investigation by MLB found that the Astros used cameras and video monitors to steal the signs of enemy catchers and passed these signs on to the batting team throughout the regular season and post-season 2017. In addition to the Hinch and Luhnow suspensions, Commissioner Rob Manfred fined the team $ 5 million and took away the two main draft picks in 2020 and 2021.
About an hour after MLB's announcement, Astros owner Jim Crane told reporters that he had quit Hinch and Luhnow and said, “We need to get ahead with a clean board. [We] According to a statement by Manfred, Crane was not aware of the regulation and was "extremely worried and upset" about the behavior of his employees.
The MLB's investigations have also extended to the 2018 Boston Red Sox, whose manager Alex Cora, formerly Astro's 2017 bank coach, may also face considerable discipline after completing this phase. Manfred's statement, called Cora as a bank coach, who actively participated in the Astros program in 2017, implied that he was involved as a manager in a similar electronic sign stealing system that the Red Sox allegedly committed in 2018 ,
Both the Astros 2017 and Red Sox 2018 won the World Series and defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers, respectively.
The actions of the Astros "have prompted fans, players, executives from other MLB clubs and media representatives to ask questions about the integrity of the games in which the Astros has participated," said Manfred in the statement. "And while it is impossible to determine whether the behavior actually affects the results on the field, some people's perception that it has affected the game does significant damage.
Although there was no single player penalty, the investigation found that most of the team's position players "either received label information from the scheme or participated in the scheme by helping decode signs".
Some Astros players interviewed by investigators said "if Hinch had told them to stop, they would have stopped immediately." Occasionally – twice he destroyed the video monitor on which the players were decoding the characters – he took no action to stop it.
The plan – the biggest scam scandal in baseball since members of Bobby Thomson's 1951 New York Giants pennant competition, admitted decades later that players used binoculars and buzzers to steal signs – first arrived in November in a history of The Athletic Light quoting former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers and other undisclosed personnel who confirmed his existence. According to these players, after decoding the catcher signs, Astros staff hit a trash can to signal the batsman whether the next pitch would be a breaking ball or not.
Although stealing shields has a long tradition in baseball when done by traditional means – usually a runner on the second base watches the catcher's shields and uses subtle movements to signal to the batsman that baseball is exploding practice and a flood of accusations and rumors in the digital age. Baseball has banned the use of electronic devices to steal signals, a rule that was underlined in a memorandum by Manfred in September 2017.
During Luhnow's tenure as GM, the Astros maintained an unscrupulous, data-driven identity that has resulted in 311 regular season wins and two World Series appearances over the past three years. However, the team's nontraditional approach, replacing scouts with video analysts, has nullified criticism in the industry.
Manfred's statement aimed at the Astros culture under Luhnow on Monday and said:[W]Although no one can deny that the Luhnow baseball operations department is industry-leading in analytics, I understand that the culture … was very problematic. In my view at least [front office’s] Island culture – a culture that valued and rewarded results over other considerations … at least in part [the] Environment in which the behavior described in this report occurred. "