Friday’s revelations about the Astros sign stealing scandal look better for AJ Hinch and worse for Jeff Luhnow.
The results of the Astros sign stealing scandal have consumed the sport for nearly a month. We’ve talked about it ad nauseum, and frankly it would be nice to finally put it to bed and focus on the upcoming season. But Friday provided us with more details in the form of an interview by former manager AJ Hinch and a detailed report from the Wall Street Journal.
First, Hinch’s interview with Tom Verducci on MLB Network was the first in depth response we’ve gotten from anyone involved in the scandal. There weren’t any particularly stunning revelations, but Hinch expressed genuine regret that he didn’t put a stop to the sign stealing and unequivocally stated that it was wrong.
There’s a question I’ve long had, and it’s a question Verducci asked. The commissioner’s report made it clear that Hinch didn’t endorse the sign stealing, going so far as to physically damage the monitor being used on more than one occasion. But he never actually stepped up and told the team to stop, and I’ve often wondered why. I even developed my own theory, which I’ll get to later on.
Hinch confirmed he took a bat to the monitor, but didn’t really state why he failed to put a stop to the sign stealing. He simply said he wishes he would have, and he acknowledged that it was his responsibility to lead the clubhouse and that he failed in that regard. He came off as being genuinely remorseful about the whole thing.
Another part of the interview people are focusing on is the question about whether there were buzzers being used in 2019. Hinch didn’t directly say no, instead referring to the commissioner’s report which stated there was no evidence of any cheating in 2019. Many are interpreting that to mean there was actually cheating going on that simply wasn’t caught.
But the answer didn’t come off that way to me when I watched it. In Verducci’s question, he mentioned that the commissioner’s investigation included the 2019 season and found nothing, and Hinch’s response was framed around that. Maybe he could have stated it more directly, but I didn’t view his answer as an admission of anything. He answered the question in the way it was presented.
After viewing the whole interview, I firmly believe Hinch will get another managerial opportunity. I also believe he deserves one and that he’ll be even better the next time around. It’s a shame this scandal cost him his job with the Astros, but he’ll learn from it and have success wherever he goes.