MLB, MLBPA At Odds Over Future Punishments To Players Who Electronically Steal Signs; How To Limit Video
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred speaks at the 2019 Winter Meetings
Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox

The biggest storyline of the winter wasn’t a free-agent signing or trade, but rather the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal that transpired during the 2017 season.

The scheme first came to light when former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers revealed that the organization used a camera in center field at Minute Maid Park to capture signs of opposing players.

The signs were then decoded by team employees in the video replay room, and subsequently relayed to Astros hitters in the form of banging on a trash can. It was later determined at the conclusion of Major League Baseball’s investigation that the method continued into the 2018 season as well.

As the sport attempts to move on from one of the biggest scandals in recent memory, there are measures being taken to ensure an incident of this nature never occurs again.

Among them include severe punishments to players who electronically steal signs going forward. To what extent remains to be seen, as MLB and the MLBPA have been unable to agree on a solution, via Evan Drellich of The Athletic:

Both the league and the union agree philosophically that, going forward, players who steal signs electronically should be subject to discipline. There is an ongoing lawyerly dance, however, over the parameters of those punishments.

What the league and union are working to determine, then, are the guiding forces of the punishment, which would be in commissioner Rob Manfred’s hands.

While Astros players were granted immunity from potential suspensions, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred nevertheless dished out significant penalties to other culprits.

Astros owner Jim Crane was fined the maximum $5 million, per MLB’s constitution, and the organization additionally lost their first-and-second-round draft picks for the next two seasons.

Former Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch were also suspended for the entire 2020 season, only to eventually be dismissed by Crane.

The firings had a domino effect on other managers tied to the cheating scandal as well. The Boston Red Sox and New York Mets each let go Alex Cora and Carlos Beltran as a result of their participation in the scheme.

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