The increasingly long offseason for the Houston Astros has not gotten better at every turn. They were found guilty of cheating en route to their 2017 championship over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The MLB responded to the scandal by fining the team as much as they legally could. In addition, the league took the Astros’ first and second round draft picks for the next two years and suspended both the general manager of the Astros, Jeff Luhnow, and A.J. Hinch respectively for the entire 2020 season.
While neither directly participated in the sign stealing, the MLB decided that they deserved punishment since they knew about the cheating and did little to nothing to stop it. Astros owner Jim Crane responded to the scandal by firing both men and hiring former Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker as the new manager. Baker has managed for 20 total seasons since 1993.
The MLB has yet to suspend players or coaches outside of the Astros for their involvement in the scheme. So, it will be interesting how the next few weeks will play out, as many of the players and coaches involved, like Alex Cora and Carlos Beltran, are now working in coaching positions with other teams. The Red Sox are currently still under investigation as to whether or not Cora brought the cheating with him in 2018.
To make matters worse, their two biggest competitors, the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers, got a lot better this offseason, while the Astros mainly stood pat (and lost key members of their team). The Yankees snatched Gerrit Cole away from the Astros and the Dodgers traded for 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts and David Price. A wild offseason is only getting wilder.