“The commissioner came out with a report. MLB did their report,” he said. “The Astros did what they did, they made their decision on what they’re going to do and I have no other thoughts on it.”
Said second baseman José Altuve, when asked about moving forward after the scandal: “I don’t know how, but you’ve got to move forward. We’ve got to stay together as a team. It hasn’t changed my opinion about my teammates. They’re the best teammates I’ve ever had.” Altuve also said that “the time to comment about that will come” when asked directly about the section of Major League Baseball’s report that indicated the sign-stealing scheme was driven by the players.
Fallout from the scandal stretched on for days this week, after Major League Baseball released its report. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred on Monday suspended Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch each for one season, and both were fired later that day. The Boston Red Sox parted ways with manager Alex Cora, Houston’s bench coach in 2017, for his involvement in the scheme. Manfred has yet to discipline Cora because of an ongoing investigation into sign-stealing by the Red Sox while Cora led the club. Manfred also fined the Astros, valued at $1.8 billion by Forbes, $5 million and revoked their 2020 and 2021 first-round draft picks.
The commissioner did not discipline any players, a move he justified by saying many had moved on to other clubs. But the New York Mets parted ways with manager Carlos Beltrán, who played for the Astros in 2017 and was named in the report, even though Beltrán was not punished by MLB.
Some big league players have spoken out in the wake of the report. Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Randal Grichuk told Sportsnet he’d “like to see” MLB vacate Houston’s championship.
“#TakeItBack,” Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer tweeted about the 2017 title, playing off the Astros’ slogan for the 2019 postseason. Teammate Mike Clevinger wrote on Twitter that the sign-stealing scandal was “worse than steroids.”
“You have buddies that if they knew what was coming would be perennial all-stars in the big leagues,” he said in an interview with Bauer’s YouTube channel.
Chicago Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish, who as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers struggled while facing Houston in the 2017 World Series, had been told by Astros players that they gained an advantage because Darvish tipped his pitches.
Darvish said Friday he wasn’t so sure if he believed that explanation anymore.
“A couple of Astros players told me I was tipping pitches, but now it comes out they were stealing signs. Was I tipping, or were they stealing?” he told ESPN.
Altuve, though, tried to brush off the claims that Houston’s gains were ill-gotten and illegitimate. Of his 2017 MVP award, he said: “There’s a lot of people that believe I’m the MVP and a lot of people that don’t believe I’m the MVP, like a lot of people believe you’re a good guy and a lot of people believe you’re a bad guy. It’s really hard to handle that sometimes.”
And on the claims that Houston won’t have as much success in 2020 without the clandestine sign-stealing system in place: “We’re going to be in the World Series again. People don’t believe it. We will.”