Houston Astros Fire Jeff Luhnow, A.J. Hinch for Sign-Stealing Scandal

Oct 5, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow (left) talks to manager AJ Hinch (right) before game one of the 2018 ALDS playoff baseball series against the Cleveland Indians at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday, Major League Baseball released findings from its investigation into the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing allegations. MLB also announced discipline for the Astros, which included general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch suspended for the 2020 season, the Astros losing first- and second-round draft picks in the next two drafts, and the team being fined $5 million.

Shortly after the punishments were announced, Astros owner Jim Crane fired Luhnow and Hinch. Luhnow was under contract through 2023 while Hinch was under contract through 2022.

“There are two very important points I want to make today: I have higher standards for the city and the franchise, and I am going above and beyond MLB’s penalty,” Crane said at his press conference. “Today, I have made the decision to dismiss A.J. Hinch and Jeff Luhnow. We need to move forward with a clean slate, and the Astros will become a stronger organization because of this today.”

The Astros will start looking for a new manager. Crane said that they could have an interim or permanent manager this year, and he’ll consider internal and outside candidates. He also said that he thinks that Astros bench coach Joe Espada would be a “capable manager.” Espada is expected to be named interim manager, accoring to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com.

Luhnow accepted responsibility but said that he’s not a cheater.

Hinch also accepted responsibilty and apoligized in a statement.

MLB’s investigation confirmed that the Astros cheated by using a camera-based system to steal signs during the regular season and playoffs during the 2017 season and part of the 2018 season. MLB didn’t issue any discipline for players and Crane said that players would not be disciplined by him, either.

There is not a timeline for naming the replacements for Luhnow and Hinch.

Despite the Astros’ cheating and punishment, World Series odds haven’t changed at Caesars Sportsbook. The Astros are still tied for second-best odds at six-to-one with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The current favorites are the New York Yankees at four-to-one.

MLB is currently investigating allegations that the 2018 Boston Red Sox used a video replay room to steal signs. We’ll have to wait and see how harsh the Red Sox’ punishments are.

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