BOSTON (CBS) — The MLB has concluded its investigation of the Houston Astros for the cheating accusations from 2017, and the league has come down with a hammer.

Both general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch have been suspended for a full year. The Astros were also penalized with a $5 million fine — the highest allowable fine –under the Major League Constitution — and the loss of both their first-round and second-round draft picks in the next two drafts.

Shortly after the findings were announced, Astros owner Jim Crane fired both Hinch and Luhnow.

“Listen, it’s the stiffest penalty that any team has ever taken or been given, and we accept that,” Crane said. “We’re going to move forward in a positive way.”

Manfred explained in his ruling how and why he decided upon his punishment.

“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,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in the announcement.

Manfred added: “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.”

If Luhnow or Hinch commit any future infractions, they’ll be banned for life from baseball.

READ: MLB’s Full Investigative Findings On The Houston Astros

The punishment is about as severe as anyone could have imagined, after the Astros had been accused of using video to steal signs before hitting a trash barrel with a bat to tip off hitters when an off-speed pitch was coming during their 2017 World Series-winning season.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora was the bench coach for that 2017 World Series run in Houston. Passan reported that punishment has not yet been decided on for Cora, as MLB continues its separate investigation into the Red Sox’ illegal use of the video replay room in 2018.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan said that the punishment for Cora will be “harsh.”

Passan reported that Cora played a key role in the Astros’ sign-stealing process in 2017.

Last week, The Athletic reported that the Red Sox were under investigation for using the video replay room to steal sign sequences during the 2018 regular season.

That investigation is ongoing, but based on the significant punishments dealt to Hinch and Luhnow, it may be fair to expect an equal or greater punishment coming for Cora.

Related: Cora Can Expect Massive Punishment From MLB

As for the Astros, Manfred said that the players interviewed said that they would have stopped their sign-stealing operation if Hinch had told them to do so.

“Many of the players who were interviewed admitted that they knew the scheme was wrong because it crossed the line from what the player believed was fair competition and/or violated MLB rules,” Manfred wrote. “Players stated that if Manager A.J. Hinch told them to stop engaging in the conduct, they would have immediately stopped.”

Manfred explained why no players were disciplined in the ruling.

“Assessing discipline of players for this type of conduct is both difficult and impractical,” Manfred said. “It is difficult because virtually all of the Astros’ players had some involvement or knowledge of the scheme, and I am not in a position based on the investigative record to determine with any degree of certainty every player who should be held accountable, or their relative degree of culpability. It is impractical given the large number of players involved, and the fact that many of those players now play for other Clubs.”

Comments
  1. Bernie Gill says:

    So let me understand this….The manager and GM were suspended for a year for cheating, which obviously affected the outcome of games and possibly the World Series….Pete Rose gets suspended for life for betting on his OWN team!

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