Astros owner fires Jeff Luhnow, A.J. Hinch after both were suspended by MLB for 2017 cheating scandal

HOUSTON — Astros owner Jim Crane said manager A.J. Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow will not return to the team. He fired both of them because of the 2017 cheating scandal.

MLB also suspended Hinch and Luhnow for the 2020 season as part of its harsh punishment for stealing signs during the team’s run to the World Series Championship. 

The club is also being fined $5 million and will forfeit 1st and 2nd-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021. 

No Astros players are being punished even though most position players on the 2017 team participated in some way, according to the report. 

Many of the players interviewed said they knew it was wrong and they worried about getting caught. 

Crane is holding a 2 p.m. news conference. Watch it live here.

“We need to move forward with a clean slate,” Crane said. “The Astros will be stronger as a team because of this.” 

Investigators interviewed 68 witnesses including 23 current and former Astros players. They also reviewed tens of thousands of emails, Slack communications, text messages, video clips and photographs.

The investigation began in November when former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers said the team was illegally stealing signs.

Stealing hand signals from the catcher to the pitcher in the MLB is nothing new, but using technology to do so is against the rules. Fiers said the Astros used cameras to get the signs and convey them to the batters.

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Witnesses confirmed that one or more players would watch the live feed from the center field camera and a runner would relay the information to the dugout. Someone in the dugout would then signal a runner on second base, who would then signal the batter. 

Witnesses said the scheme was cooked up and executed by players and the only coach who knew was then-bench coach Alex Cora, who is now the manager of the Red Sox.

Luhnow denied knowing about the scheme but the MLB investigators found evidence that he had some knowledge but didn’t act on it.

In his report, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred  had harsh words for the Astros’ culture, saying they “valued and rewarded results over other considerations.”

“While no one can dispute that Luhnow’s baseball operations department  is an industry leader in its analytics, it is very clear to me that the culture of the baseball operations department — manifesting itself in the way its employees are treated, its relations with other clubs and its relations with the media and external stakeholders — has been very problematic,” Manfred said in the report.

Crane was cleared of any involvement.

“Crane is extraordinarily troubled and upset by the conduct of members of his organization,”  Manfred said.

He said Crane fully supported the investigation and provided unlimited access to all information requested.

Scroll down to read the full report:

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