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MLB: A Lawsuit Filed Against the Astros May Reveal MLB Made a Deal to Protect Houston

Baseball fans can’t be happy about the deal Manfred made with Houston.



The Houston Astros are easily the most hated team in baseball. You don’t have to do much research around the MLB to figure that one out. Their cheating scheme that was revealed to the world this past offseason has made it incredibly difficult to like them at all. Add in their attitudes and general trash-talking, and you just have a group of guys that you can’t help but not like.

MLB fans weren’t just unhappy with the fact that the Astros cheated their way to a title in 2017. Most were also very unhappy with the league’s light punishment issued to Houston. The fact that players were exempt from the punishment only made it more infuriating.

And now, months removed from this massive scandal, we might finally know why. In a lawsuit filed by former Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow, it has been alleged that MLB worked with the Astros on lighter punishments. The lawsuit reads as follows:

The commissioner vetted potential penalties with Crane, and the two exchanged a series of proposals. Those negotiations proved beneficial to Crane and the Astros. The commissioner allowed the Astros to keep their 2017 World Series championship, imposed a $5 million fine (a fraction of the revenues Crane had reaped as part of the team’s recent success), and took away four draft picks. He also issued a blanket vindication of Crane, absolving him of any responsibility for failing to supervise his club.

Luhnow was fired for his role in the Astros’ scandal and received a 1-year ban from baseball, which is now expired. The Astros also fired team manager AJ Hinch who has now been hired to manage the Detroit Tigers. Now Luhnow is going after the team and MLB for wrongful termination. He alleges that he did not know that the sign-stealing was happening and that commissioner Rob Manfred worked with owner Jim Crane to ensure his team would be able to field a competitive team in 2020. 

Moreover, Crane and the Astros were assured of fielding a contending team in 2020 — the team advanced to the American League Championship Series for the fourth straight year — because the commissioner did not suspend or penalize any of the players who were directly involved in the scandal.

This will no doubt be in court for quite some time, and who knows how much truth there is to Luhnow’s claims. But if everything he is saying is true, MLB could be facing a bigger backlash than the original cheating scandal. 

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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  1. Hopefully, the truth will come out and Manfred will be forced to resign.
    The fact that the Astros were allowed to keep the trophies for League and WS Championship will forever mar the League.
    Players that were involved in the scandal should have been banned from baseball and Hinch should have been banned.

  2. Is this any different than the Chicago Black Sox? Or less of an offense as Pete Rose?!!

    Vacate the championship. Three-year suspensions for players. $1 billion fine. Period.

    • I’d be astounded but pleased with your proposed punishments!

      My uncle took me as a 7 year old to the new Dodger Stadium in 1962. I only remember him telling me about Wally Moon. I liked his name as a kid,

  3. Looks like Luhnow has no intention of working in MLB again, definitely burning that bridge. What do you bet that MLB quietly throws a big chunk of money at him to settle before any of this really gets to court? That way they can still pretend that it is “resolved.” At this point, no matter what kind of black eye this gives Manfred and MLB, there won’t any additional penalties to players or staff. But there is nothing preventing MLB from vacating the 2017 title. They should have done that all along.

  4. If people are saying there should be fines then justin turner should be fined as well for breaking protocols. Yes they cheated but what they did is not deadly. And you say no one dies bc of turner that’s not the point. Dodger fans think they’re treated unfairly yet when one of their teammate does something wrong it’s ok. Such hypocrites. As a dodgers fan tuner acted selfish and irresponsible! I guess if it’s something you dreamt about all your life whether you have covid or not doesn’t matter and it’s ok to break protocols as long as you win the WS and come back on the field.

    • LOL, what does that have to do with cheating, its not just Dodger fans that are disgusted with the Astros, everyone is. Also, what Dodger fans think it was okay what turner did, I certainly don’t not to mention his contract expired right after the last pitch of the world , he unfortunaley was going to do whatever he wanted

    • What does it matter that he came back on the field. He was around players & staff all day in the club house, dugout etc. He didn’t just magically become positive in the 8th inning. Pretty good chance he was all day. I would say he could have infected more people during the day & the game than he did after the game.

    • Shut the He!! Up! Stop trolling and just become a Asstros fan. If you really are a Dodgers fan, you’re a disgrace

  5. But will the title be taken away or at the
    very least have a *** next to the 4-3 outcome
    in the record books?

  6. I think the Astros Organization should be sued by the Dodgers for lost revenue, and each Dodger player that lost in 2017 that was not on the 2020 team should receive a ring

  7. I think the most amazing part about this entire Houston Astros CHEATING scandal, is how the Astros timeline is full of people saying “it doesn’t matter that we cheated because it worked and we won”,< this is how you rot from within!

  8. 1000 times worse than Pete Rose betting on his team to win. An entire organization
    cheating electronically for a year or more all the way into the world series. Pretty ballsy to continue the scam during the world series. Fine the players, fire Manfred, vacate the world series rings and trophy and championship and give their world series money to the players retirement fund.
    Dodgers should create a display/exhibit at Dodgers stadium with all the details called the Hall of Shame with the cheaters photos on the wall of shame. Video of the scam at work, details of how much benefit they got out of it vs. the away games when they didn’t cheat.

    • Dodgers are too busy being world champs to worry about that stuff. Leave the cheaters in the dust.

  9. VACATE the 2017 Championship with some kind of MLB apology to their opponent, the Dodgers. Fire Manfred for presiding over the farce that was the “investigation and “punishment” of the team. Probably no longer possible but players never should have received rings more shares. I’d require them to return the rings or not play.

    If MLB gave players immunity for talking, can’t take it back but they CAN list which players admitted what and when they knew and formally chastise them. Not much I know, kinda like the school putting it “on your permanent record” but getting off scot free is repugnant.

    • I agree as do many, that the players should have been fined AND 30 day suspensions similar to steroid cheating. At minimum 10 day suspensions similar to what Joe Kelly received for doing what everyone in baseball wanted to do> throw at the cheaters!! Many other sports retroactively fine, punish and take away trophies ?/ medals ?!!! Lance Armstrong & Gold medalist Ben Johnson come to mind… I live in A’s country and no one here wants that trophy ? in Houston with those cheaters. Yankee fans hate that they were cheated too! Get rid of Manfred, he does not care about the integrity of the trophy and the game.

  10. Just a comment about Wally Moon. He came to the Dodgers after the ’58 season and helped win the ’59 world series. At that time, the Dodgers were playing in the colosseum. It was not designed for baseball. It was like 440 ft. in left center, but only 251 down the left field line. Stan Musial, who played with Wally in St. Louis, suggested that he should alter his swing inside to outside, since he was a left handed batter. In doing so, he was able to hit fly balls over the screen in left field for easy home runs. Vin Scully being the best there ever was and will ever be, described these home runs as “Moon shots” He played with the Dodgers until he retired in 1966, picking up 3 WS rings.

  11. Dodger fan since 1959. Pete Rose is banned for life. I wasn’t a fan of his other than highly respecting how he played the game. I hated the Big Red Machine! I think he belongs in the Hall of Fame. He did break the rules and he lied about it before he told the truth. He never bet on his team to lose. The Houston players cheated causing other teams and players to potentially lose a lot of money as well as a championship. The team was barely penalized!

    The players union also agreed with the sweetheart deal the Astros made with Maqnford. I was told all 25 Astro players were let off because they testified that the cheating went on. Why did they need to let 25 players off when it only took one player to expose what went on? This shows how bogus the league and players union story is.

    Baseball owes Pete Rose. They made a deal with the devil regarding the Astros. The very least they can do is allow one of the best players ever into the Hall of Fame! What Pete did is nothing compared to the proven cheating by the Astros and the players did. Hell, they even got to keep the championship! At least we know for sure that we can’t ever trust the league to do the right thing.

  12. In my heart I knew MLB had sold out any ethics it may have had. My question is what did MLB receive in exchange? MLB seems to be operating like a an underworld syndicate and not organization that fans can respect. Time to clean house at MLB. How can we teach children in little league about fairness when MLB looks the other way when cheating occurs and there is no repercussions. Unbelievable!

  13. Houston * Asterisk Will be forever know as the “Cheaters” period.

    “Congratulations to the 2020 World Series LA Dodgers!!!

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