Former Astros GM Jeff Luhnow: 'I am not a cheater'

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Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch were both fired by the Astros after Major League Baseball came down hard on the organization Monday.

But Manfred has never been more emphatic in wielding the power of his office than Monday when he drove a stake through the heart of the Houston Astros for their electronic sign stealing, complete with garbage can bashing, during the 2017 and 2018 seasons. This doesn't usually happen when a team has, in three consecutive years, won the World Series, played for the pennant in the American League Championship Series, and come within three innings of winning a second World Series. Brandon Taubman, fired as Houston's assistant GM during the the 2019 ALCS for his outburst against female reporters in the Houston locker room, was suspended for a year.

The team has reportedly admitted to stealing signs but denied it installed a special camera to do it, per Martino.

Current New York Mets manager Carlos Beltrán, then a player with the Astros, was among the group involved. The Red Sox won't want their manager's suspension hanging over them for a full season, nor do they want an interim manager who is merely keeping the seat warm until 2021. Cora participated in both schemes, and through his active participation, implicitly condoned the players' conduct.

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Why players weren't punished ■ The commissioner says in the report that he will not discipline individual players because of his September 2017 decision to "hold a Club's General Manager and Field Manager accountable for misconduct of this kind".

The report states Hinch WAS aware of the cheating - and told investigators he believed it was "wrong and distracting". but didn't directly tell the players directly to stop. That runner would decipher the catcher's sign, and signal to the batter from second base, the investigation found. However, he noted that the "evidence consistently showed I didn't endorse or participate in the sign stealing practices".

■ Cora began calling the replay review room "early in the season" in 2017 to get information on signs. After a group of players that included Beltrán discussed how to improve the system about two months into the season, Cora arranged for a video monitor of the center field camera to be installed next to the dugout and players would communicate pitches by banging a bat or massage gun on a trash can.

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