Is the MLB Making an Example Out of the Houston Astros?

Over the last several weeks, the MLB has drawn attention for all the wrong reasons as the league has been blasted by a cheating scandal that involves one of their best teams in the Houston Astros. That has been the underlying focus around the association. It has entirely centered on possible significant punishment that has come to be expected after all the information that has emerged from the matter. The MLB has finally acted and laid out some enormous consequences for the Astros’ actions.

Astros’ sign-stealing scandal

Back in late November, a lengthy piece from Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drelich from The Athletic sent shockwaves throughout the MLB that detailed the Astros participating in an elaborate sign-stealing scheme.

It was found that they implemented it dating back to at least the 2017 season, which saw them use technology along with a staff member to relay the signs within seconds to their player batting immediately. That method was used during many home games at Minute Maid Park by banging a trash can on the ground in the tunnel behind the dugout to indicate what pitch was coming next so that the batter can prepare.

Since that initial report, there have been various other details to emerge that involved whistling from the dugout to even their catchers in the bullpen using the outfield netting to show what pitch was coming next.

It was a scheme that the Astros had initially denied publicly over the years when it was suggested, but the report and various videos that have emerged have been quite damning towards that being the case.

Following weeks of investigation by the MLB, the league has now officially handed out their punishment to the Astros.

MLB swiftly punishes the Astros

In the time that has followed the report concerning the Astros sign stealing, the MLB has conducted a thorough investigation into the matter.

The league office has finally concluded the process that has resulted in the team losing first-and-second round draft picks in 2020 and 2021, a record $5 million fine and a year suspension for both AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow, according to

The situation has taken yet another left turn as team owner Jim Crane announced on Monday afternoon that both Hinch and Luhnow were fired. What these punishments make clear is that there were definite finding that the team had been sign-stealing with the use of technology back in the 2017 season and possibly more recently as well. It was a process that the league felt that both Hinch and Luhnow knew about it.

It now puts a significant asterisk over the entire franchise, especially over their 2017 season that saw them win the World Series. However, the question becomes whether the league handed out a strong enough punishment.

Did the MLB go far enough with Astros’ punishment?

The MLB handed out a historic set of punishments on the Astros for their actions in the sign-stealing scandal.

It’s the first time the league has had to go to these types of measures on an entire organization, but it does beg the question if they could have done more. The immediate feedback from the league’s ruling saw many point to the lack of players being punished, such as Jose Altuve’s MVP award or the revoking of their 2017 World Series title. It could be fairly argued that this impacted the Los Angeles Dodgers’ chances of winning it all.

The decision to suspend Hinch had made him the only the third manager to be impacted in that manner with Pete Rose’s lifetime ban for gambling in 1989 and Leo Durocher’s one-year ban for inappropriate associations. The scandal around the 1919 Black Sox scandal that resulted in many players receiving lifetime bans.

There will continue to be pushback from those believing that the Astros deserved a more hefty punishment for their actions, but it does set the bar for any other activity of that nature. Beyond that, there could be much more to come with the chatter around the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.