Astros: Three key takeaways from MLB sign stealing report

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 13: AJ Hinch #14 of the Houston Astros and Alex Cora #20 of the Boston Red Sox shake hands prior to Game One of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park on October 13, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 13: AJ Hinch #14 of the Houston Astros and Alex Cora #20 of the Boston Red Sox shake hands prior to Game One of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park on October 13, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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Major League Baseball came down hard on the Astros.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred released his findings and his punishment related to the Astros sign stealing scandal on Monday, and the league clearly did not take the club’s actions lightly. GM Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch were each suspended for one year, with the club forfeiting its first and second round draft picks for two years and paying a $5 million fine.

Astros owner Jim Crane went even further, firing both Luhnow and Hinch shortly after the discipline was announced. We’ll get into that decision in more detail as well, but there’s plenty to sift through from the nine-page report issued by Manfred.

The sign stealing operation apparently started in early 2017 when Astros staff in the video replay review room used a center field camera to decode signs, relaying that information to the dugout. It then evolved into having a monitor installed just outside the dugout to allow players to see the feed themselves.

The players would then relay that information to baserunners and/or the batter at the plate by banging on a trash can, among other things, which continued through the 2017 postseason. The replay room was still relaying signs in the 2018 regular season before the players stopped, believing it ineffective.

There’s no way to tell how much the games were affected by this, or even if the outcome of the 2017 postseason would have changed if the sign stealing had not occurred. But for now, here are the three key takeaways from the commissioner’s report.

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