HOUSTON — Astros manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were fired Monday after the pair were suspended by Major League Baseball for the team’s sign-stealing during Houston’s run to the 2017 World Series title and during the 2018 season.
In the sport’s largest scandal since the Biogenesis drug suspensions in 2013, Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the discipline Monday and strongly hinted that current Boston manager Alex Cora — the Astros bench coach in 2017 — will face equal or more severe punishment. Manfred said Cora developed the sign-stealing system used by the Astros. The Red Sox are under investigation for sign stealing in Cora’s first season as manager in 2018, when the Red Sox won the World Series.
Houston was fined $5 million for sign-stealing during its run to the 2017 World Series title and during the 2018 season — the maximum allowed under the Major League Constitution. The Astros will forfeit their next two first- and second-round draft picks.
In addition, former Astros GM Brandon Taubman was suspended through the World Series for his conduct during last year’s AL Championship Series, when his profane remarks directed at female reporters led to his firing by Houston, which at first denied the incident and later apologized.
Manfred said owner Jim Crane was not aware of the sign stealing. An hour after MLB announced its decision, Crane opened a news conference by saying Hinch and Luhnow had been terminated.
“We need to move forward with a clean slate,” he said.