After conducting a three-month investigation into the Houston Astros and determining that they electronically stole signs over the course of the 2017 season, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred levied significant penalties against the organization.
The Astros were fined $5 million, stripped of their first and second-round draft picks over the next two seasons, and saw then-general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch each suspended for the entire 2020 season.
While those punishments represented some of the stiffest in league history, many players felt Houston was merely given a slap on the wrist.
Some opined that the organization’s 2017 World Series championship should have been vacated, while others were left perplexed as to how Astros players did not face any individual punishments.
Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star Cody Bellinger was critical of Manfred’s handling of the cheating scandal, deeming that the penalties were too light.
So too was Justin Turner, who believes Manfred was not transparent enough with the findings of his investigation, via Andy McCullough of the The Athletic:
“Everyone keeps saying, ‘The facts, the facts, you don’t know the facts.’ I don’t think anyone knows the facts. Everyone just wants to hear all the facts. I think that the commissioner didn’t do a good job of revealing all the facts to us. I still think there’s some stuff that maybe we don’t know.”
Turner added Manfred errored by failing to set an example with the Astros:
“He talks about it. He says, ‘Oh, yeah, we want to get the youth involved! We want to inspire the youth!’ But now you’re essentially condoning these guys for cheating. And saying, ‘There’s no precedent’? There’s no precedent because no one’s ever done it before. He just set a soft precedent for how to handle this situation.”
Manfred held his annual Grapefruit League press conference on Sunday and disagreed with Bellinger’s assertion that the punishments weren’t strong enough.
Bellinger is hardly the first player with sharp criticism of the Astros’ scandal, but he’s the only opponent who has been subject of a retort. Carlos Correa questioned Bellinger’s awareness of the full situation, his reading comprehension and used an expletive in suggesting he no longer discuss the topic.
As for Turner, he previously shared his thoughts on the penalties issued by Manfred. “It’s tough,” Turner said at Dodgers FanFest.
“MLB and the commissioner did their investigation and found enough evidence to support three managers and a general manager losing their job. Obviously there was something there. They crossed a line and MLB did what they felt was necessary.”
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