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Astros crushed by MLB for cheating scandal

Hinch and Ludlow subsequently canned by Houston

Garbage... Photo by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images
Brett Ballantini started at South Side Sox in 2018 after 20 years of writing on basketball, baseball and hockey, including time on the Blackhawks and White Sox beats. Follow him on Twitter @BrettBallantini and email your site feedback to

On Monday, MLB handed down a draconian suspension to the Houston Astros organization for its systemic cheating.

As a result of the investigation into the sign-stealing scandal, manager A.J. Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow are suspended through the end of the 2020 World Series. Mere hours after the announcement, both Hinch and Luhnow were fired.

Houston was fined $5 million, and will lose first and second round picks in both 2020 and 2021. While $5 million may seem like a light monetary penalty, it is the maximum allowed per baseball’s constitution. And the four lost draft picks are the most ever taken from an MLB team.

Former assistant GM Brandon Tabuman was given a year’s suspension as well, for his role in the postseason scandal involving harassment of female media members.

Former Houston player and current New York Mets manager Carlos Beltrán was named in the investigation as a participant, but as no Astros players were fined or suspended for their actions, Beltrán escaped punishment, aside from his penance-by-definition: Mets skipper.

However, while Beltrán will not be touched by MLB for his role in the Houston cheating scandal, the Mets could take a stand similar to Houston and fire their new manager before he even pilots a single game.

With this investigation concluded, attention turns to the Boston for its presumably shorter-term and less conscripted cheating scandal. However, Red Sox manager — bench coach in Houston and a participant in cheating both with the Astros and Boston. Cora’s suspension was already rumored to be longer than Hinch’s, and now with Hinch fired as manager, it would be a good time for Cora to be renting, not buying, in the Boston area.

MLB made a decision to pursue only management-level personnel for Houston’s cheating scandal, thereby absolving (intended or not) Astros players of wrongdoing. Among the damning evidence pointing to how unfair that decision is, however, is the fact that, per the report, there was noticeable panic on the Astros bench when White Sox pitcher Danny Farquhar uncovered the trash can-beating sign-stealing system — so much so that after the game, players hid or destroyed the video monitor in the tunnel used to aid the cheating.

And the defense of the players as mentioned in the report is impossibly weak, telling investigators that had Hinch told them to stop cheating, they would have. Never mind that when Hinch discovered the cheating, he angrily destroyed the monitors used to cheat. #Ethics