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MLB enacts penalties for Astros in sign-stealing scandal (updated)

GM Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch are suspended for 2020, and that’s just the beginning

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Divisional Series - Tampa Bay Rays v Houston Astros - Game Two Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After a lengthy investigation, Major League Baseball has handed down discipline against the Astros in a sign-stealing scandal that gripped headlines since mid-November.

According to Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic (subscription required), both general manager Jeff Luhnow and club manager A.J. Hinch will be suspended for the 2020 season. Other penalties include the team forfeiting their first and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 drafts, a $5 million fine, and the permanent ban of former Astros executive Brandon Taubman.

Jeff Passan, meanwhile, reports that Red Sox manager Alex Cora faces “harsh” discipline as a result of his involvement. Carlos Beltran, while a key individual involved in the scheme, will not be punished as he was a player at the time, not a team official, says Andy Martino.

Beginning in the 2017 season, the Astros used a camera-replay system to steal signs from opposing clubs. Information was transmitted to batters using an audio signal, typically a bang from a trashcan in the dugout tunnel. The Yankees, who were eliminated in the 2017 and 2019 ALCS by the Astros, complained about these instances in the latter series.

While harsh, these penalties aren’t draconian. They don’t amount to an NCAA death penalty punishment. The discipline seems merited, if nothing else.

This is a developing story. Pinstripe Alley will stay on it as more details emerge...

Update (3:11 PM): The Astros have fired both Luhnow and Hinch, says Ken Rosenthal. This is getting more and more serious.