The Houston Astros lost draft picks, their manager, and their general manager as a result of the scandal of stealing signs over the course of multiples seasons.
Commissioner Rob Manfred also fined the team $5 million, the maximum penalty under MLB rules. What he didn’t do, however, is claw back the money that Astros players made because of their cheating.
That doesn’t sit well with a former pitcher who blames the Astros for ending his career in the majors, and he’s throwing high and inside at them to get his revenge.
A long journey and a quick demise
Mike Bolsinger was selected by the Cleveland Indians in the 34th round of the 2006 draft as an 18-year-old. He opted for college ball at the University of Arkansas and was taken in the 15th round of the 2010 draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The right-hander worked his way through the Diamondbacks system as a starting pitcher and got to the big leagues in 2014 but went just 1-6 with a 5.50 ERA in 10 appearances.
Arizona traded him to the Dodgers in a cash deal after the season to start a pattern of Bolsinger splitting time each season between the majors and Triple-A ball, first with the Dodgers and then the Toronto Blue Jays after another trade in 2016.
His claim to fame was striking out four Boston Red Sox batter in the 13th inning of a game in which he would be tagged with the loss after a Hanley Ramirez walk-off home run in the 15th.
But that wasn’t the game that did him in.
The night the Houston Astros roughed up Mike Bolsinger
Mike Bolsinger’s career mark in the major leagues was an unremarkable 8-19 with a 4.92 ERA in 41 starts and 48 appearances overall, so he was hardly on firm ground with the Toronto Blue Jays.
His final outing in the majors came Aug. 4, 2017, in Houston, where the Astros teed off on Bolsinger. He surrendered three walks and four earned runs in one-third of an inning as a reliever in a 16-7 loss and was designated for assignment the next day.
Bolsinger was closer to the truth than he knew. MLB concluded an investigation last month that showed the Astros had used video feeds to steal signs during the 2017 and 2018 seasons. When an off-speed pitch was coming, the Astros relayed the information to their batters by banging on a garbage can in the dugout tunnel.
Mike Bolsinger wants the Houston Astros to pay the price
Mike Bolsinger spent the 2018 and 2019 seasons pitching in Japan, where he has gone 17-8 with a 3.79 ERA. He’s 32 years old now and a longshot to find his way back to MLB and its multi-million-dollar contracts.
Even if he never pitches against the Houston Astros again, he can still bring the heat against the 2017 World Series champions. Bolsinger has filed a civil lawsuit against the Astros, claiming the horrendous final big-league appearance in Houston was the “death knell” for his MLB career.
The suit alleges the Astros are guilty of unfair business practices, negligence and intentional interference with contractual and economic relations. It seeks unspecified damages for Bolsinger, but he also wants charities to benefit.
In the papers filed by his lawyer, Bolsinger wants the Astros to forfeit their postseason bonuses from the 2017 season, which he calculates at $30,420,155.57. He says that money should go to children’s charities in Los Angeles and a fund for retired ballplayers needing financial assistance.