Still working to restore public perception of the franchise, the Houston Astros found themselves at the center of another scandal when Mike Fiers went on record to detail the team’s alleged use of a camera at Minute Maid Park to electronically steal signs.
Fiers joined the Astros during the 2015 season and remained with the team through their World Series run in 2017. There are claims Houston continued with the practice against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series, which of course the Astros won in seven games.
MLB has launched an investigation into the alleged cheating, and opinions over how the Astros should be reprimanded have been widespread.
Some members of the DodgerBlue.com staff shared how they believe MLB should handle the situation if the Astros are found to have cheated.
Jeff Spiegel (@JeffSpiegel)
I’ll admit, when news broke that the Astros were suspected of cheating, I never could have imagined the following five days would play out like this. College GameDay signs. Twitter memes. Six-minute breakdowns with forensic audio analysis. It has been nuts.
So, what do we do with it all?
First, we should do everything in our power to stop ourselves from going down the “Dodgers got screwed in 2017!” road. Yes, it’s probably true, but trust me when I say that it’s not worth your time and energy subjecting yourself to that kind of anger, disappointment, etc.
But what about punishment? This is where I get a little crazy. At this point, it’s hard for me to imagine Astros manager A.J. Hinch and his staff weren’t involved in this. At the very least they were aware — and if they didn’t do anything as the coaching staff, then what’s the difference?
I think Hinch and every coach on his staff should be suspended for an entire year. They compromised the integrity of the sport openly and overtly. The fact that they were rewarded for doing so should make the punishment even more severe.
And yes — this includes those who are managers elsewhere. These were the coaches who had the power to stop this — it wasn’t up to a player whose salary and playing time was dependent on the approval of the people in charge to stop this, and the punishments should reflect that.
As for the organization, I’d give take away their top five picks in the upcoming draft and fine them an ungodly amount. If the general manager was involved, he should face a massive fine as well.
Baseball knows that their ability to stop teams from doing things like this is limited. And so one of the only routes they have available is to punish the crap out of (and make an example of) a team that was caught with their pants down.
Whatever you think the punishment should be, add 25% and call it good.
Matt Borelli (@mcborelli)
The Astros clearly crossed a line and should be penalized accordingly. I don’t believe MLB will vacate their 2017 World Series championship, but it wouldn’t come as a surprise if significant fines were handed down to the organization. I also believe Houston will lose multiple future draft picks.
And if MLB can pinpoint a direct culprit to the sign stealing, I think that person (or group of people) will receive a lifetime ban, similar to the punishment that former Atlanta Braves general manager John Coppolella received two years ago for violating international signing rules.
Matthew Moreno (@MMoreno1015)
Like Jeff and Matt, I don’t see MLB stripping the Astros of their World Series win. And quite frankly, that wouldn’t be the appropriate course of action. Those games still happened, and the Astros managed to win games at Dodger Stadium as well.
That being said, if they did use a camera and monitor to then relay some sort of signal to their batters, that should earn serious punishment.
To deter other clubs from being this egregious, I think it would need to entail a substantial fine, loss of picks in future drafts for multiple years, reduced international signing bonus pool money and potential suspensions for manager A.J. Hinch and members of his current/former coaching staff if they had any involvement or approved of the tactic.
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