As full-squad workouts begin for all 30 MLB teams this week, many players have taken the opportunity to share their thoughts on the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal.
Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star Cody Bellinger didn’t hold back on his assessment of the situation, alleging the Astros cheated for three seasons and stole the 2017 World Series championship.
The claims drew a sharp response from Astros shortstop Carlos Correa, who defended his teammates and directed an expletive toward Bellinger.
Correa also explained that the club stopped its practice of banging on a trash can to signify to hitters which pitch was coming during the 2017 postseason. He reasoned stadiums were too loud for that method to be effective.
However, Manfred disputed this and clarified that the Astros did in fact continue their illegal sign-stealing method into the playoffs. “The garbage-can signaling went on in the postseason,” Manfred confirmed.
“There was conflicting evidence on that point, but in an invitation you often have conflicting evidence, and it was in my view that the more credible evidence was that they continued to use the scheme in the postseason.”
Manfred went on to add that multiple Astros players admitted as much to him during the three-month investigation process. “Statements from players,” he said. “We agreed we were not going to do the individual who said what thing, but they were player statements.”
Manfred granted Astros players immunity from individual punishments for participating in the organization’s sign-stealing scandal, on the contingency they were truthful during their interviews with the league.
That decision has been met with sharp criticism by most of the league, as players were left perplexed that the likes of Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman did not receive a suspension.
The Astros as a whole were fined the maximum $5 million, per MLB’s constitution, and stripped of their first and second-round draft picks over the next two seasons.
Those that were punished include former Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch. Each were suspended for the 2020 season, only to be subsequently dismissed by owner Jim Crane.
Their firings created a ripple effect, as the Boston Red Sox and New York Mets eventually fired managers Alex Cora and Carlos Beltran as well.
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