When Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred announced his findings and punishment after investing the Houston Astros for their electronic sign-stealing, it created a divide of sorts between those who believe the team got off light and others who see the penalties as just.
In addition to suspending former Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch for the 2020 season — they were subsequently fired by owner Jim Crane — Manfred levied a $5 million fine against the organization.
It’s the largest amount Manfred is permitted to fine a team under the Major League constitution, but also dwarfed by revenues the Astros generated by winning the World Series. Houston also forfeits their first- and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 MLB Drafts.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, some teams believe Manfred went light on the Astros, but fear speaking about that would earn them a harsher punishment:
Multiple ownership-level sources told ESPN that dissatisfaction with the penalties had emerged following a conference call with Manfred, in which he explained how the Astros would be disciplined, then told teams to keep their thoughts to themselves.
“The impression,” one person familiar with the call told ESPN, “was that the penalty for complaining would be more than Houston got.”
Several hours after MLB made their nine-page findings public, the Los Angeles Dodgers issued a statement to explain they would have no comment on the matter. “All clubs have been asked by Major League Baseball not to comment on today’s punishment of the Houston Astros as it’s inappropriate to comment on discipline imposed on another club,” it read.
“The Dodgers have also been asked not to comment on any wrongdoing during the 2017 World Series and will have no further comment at this time.”
Kenley Jansen, Clayton Kershaw, Joc Pederson and Justin Turner are among those who previously commented on the matter — when allegations had yet to be proven true — and while some frustration was expressed, so too was a sense of it being in the past.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts took a similar stance when faced with questions at the Winter Meetings. Roberts and Hinch share a close friendship.
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