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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HOUSTON, TX – APRIL 04: Manager A.J. Hinch #14 of the Houston Astros and general manager Jeff Luhnow talk during batting practice at Minute Maid Park on April 4, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

Hinch, Luhnow Failed to Stop It

The report noted that there was no evidence Luhnow was aware of the trash can banging operation, though it did appear he was notified of the replay room’s activities. He evidently brushed it off or paid it no mind.

The report was also clear that while Hinch was aware of both the replay room’s activities and the trash can banging, he was not involved with them and in fact did not support them. He went as far as actually damaging the monitors on two separate occasions to show his displeasure, but that’s as far as it went.

So if neither of them were actually involved in the sign stealing, why did they get the brunt of the punishment? The main reason is the commissioner’s memo to teams that came in response to the Red Sox getting caught using an Apple Watch to steal signs in 2017.

The release, issued Sept. 15, 2017, clearly stated that “the General Manager and Field Manager of Clubs would be held accountable for any violations of the rules in the future.” In the league’s view, the fact that Luhnow and Hinch failed to stop the violations, especially given that they directly or indirectly oversaw the culprits, warranted severe discipline.

In particular, I don’t understand why Hinch didn’t put a stop to it. He was right there when it was going on and was very much opposed to it, yet he evidently never stepped up and told anyone to stop. It’s unfortunate in that he’s a great manager and was a great fit for the club, but it all happened on his watch.

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