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Around the Empire: Yankees News - 1/14/20

MLB punishes Astros for sign-stealing in 2017; Houston fires manager and GM; Morrison accuses Yanks of stealing signs as well; Boston may keep Betts and compete with Yankees; Sabathia will have a job in the front office

MLB: ALCS-New York Yankees at Houston Astros Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

New York Post | Mark Fischer MLB finally set the punishment for the Houston Astros, who were caught stealing signs during the 2017 season, the one in which they ended up lifting the World Series trophy. General manager Jeff Lunhow and manager A.J. Hinch were suspended for a year without pay, and an additional fine of $5 million was enforced. The Astros will lose four draft picks, their first and second-rounders in 2020 and 2021. They used the replay room to decode signs and relayed them to batters by banging a trash can, and they did it in the regular season and in the playoffs, most notably against the Yankees in the ALCS.

New York Daily News | Bradford William Davis Perhaps unsurprisingly, both Hinch and Lunhow lost their jobs. After MLB published the disciplinary measures, they decided to clean house. The report suggests that Hinch disapproved the scheme and Lunhow had limited knowledge of it, as it was mainly driven by players and bench coach Alex Cora. | Brendan Kuty Logan Morrison, a former player in the Yankees organization, criticized Rob Manfred after the fines and suspensions came to public knowledge. He suggested that other teams did it well before 2017.

“I was playing with Seattle in 2014 and every time we went into Houston you would hear this banging,” Morrison explained. “No one put two and two together. Seattle fans may remember we came with in (sic) a game of going to the playoffs. Felix should have won a CY young (sic) that year. But couldn’t get pasted (sic) the 5th in Houston.”

Then, he said that some of the biggest clubs, including the Yankees, have done it. “I know from first hand accounts that the Yankees, Dodgers, Astros, and Red Sox all have used film to pick signs. Just want you guys to know the truth. I personally think it’s a tool in a tool belt to pick signs, but if we are going to be punishing people for it. Don’t half ass it.” | Mike Rosenstein The Red Sox may be changing their minds about trading their star outfielder Mookie Betts. Rosenstein sees it as a sign that they intend to compete with the Yankees and the rest of the American League for a place in the playoffs. This is what Red Sox owner John Henry told

This focus on [the] CBT resides with the media far more than it does within the Sox. I think every team probably wants to reset at least once every three years -- that’s sort of been the history -- but just this week ... I reminded baseball ops that we are focused on competitiveness over the next five years over and above resetting to which they said, ‘That’s exactly how we’ve been approaching it.’ ... You seem to think Chaim was brought in to reduce payroll. That has simply not been the way [Fenway Sports Group] operates here or across the pond [it also owns the Liverpool soccer club in England]. We try to act responsibly so as to be consistently competitive.

New York Post | Andrew Marchand According to the Post, former pitcher CC Sabathia will have a job in the Yankees’ front office. He will be a special advisor to Yankees GM Brian Cashman. His role, per the source consulted by the publication, is expected to be one “of significance,” with Sabathia wanting to have a “big front office presence in his post-playing career.” He could be a part of the YES Network’s Yankees broadcasts, although nothing is finalized.