MLB handed down stunningly harsh penalties to Astros manager A.J. Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow on Monday for their involvement in Houston's sign-stealing scandal, suspending both of them for one year.
Shortly after the suspensions came down, Astros owner Jim Crane announced that he had fired Hinch and Luhnow.
In addition to the suspensions of Hinch and Luhnow, MLB has stripped the Astros of their first- and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 MLB Draft and fined the team $5 million.
The MLB sign-stealing issues, which have been under investigation by the league and aren't limited to the Astros, have led to newer rules and stiff penalties for teams that violate those rules.
Alex Cora, who was involved in Houston's 2017 sign-stealing scheme and the more recent scheme involving the Red Sox (where he has been manager since 2018), could also be facing a penalty.
According to SNY's Andy Martino, MLB investigated the Yankees' two complaints against the Astros from the 2019 ALCS -- whistling in Game 1 and flashing lights in Game 6 -- but did not find sufficient evidence to discipline Houston for anything that occurred last year.
Martino reported on Dec. 14 that since they believed that other teams used technology to decode signs, a group of Houston Astros players asked the organization for access to a live feed from a center field camera in 2017.
Martino added that they did not install a new camera for sign-stealing purposes, and the players and coaches involved did not even know which camera the feed was coming from. They wanted a monitor closer to the dugout, because their video room was too far away. They considered their actions to be in line with industry standards.
Manfred said in the ruling that the league found that the Astros used their sign-stealing scheme throughout the 2017 postseason, even after a Sept. 15 memorandum sent to all clubs.
"I find that the conduct of the Astros, and its senior baseball operations executives, merits significant discipline," Commissioner Rob Manfred said in an MLB statement, as part of the league's nine-page ruling. "I base this finding on the fact that the club's senior baseball operations executives were given express notice in September 2017 that I would hold them accountable for violations of our policies covering sign stealing, and those individuals took no action to ensure that the club's players and staff complied with those policies during the 2017 postseason and the 2018 regular season.
"The conduct described herein has caused fans, players, executives at other MLB clubs, and members of the media to raise questions about the integrity of games in which the Astros participated. And while it is impossible to determine whether the conduct actually impacted the results on the field, the perception of some that it did causes significant harm to the game."