The Astros might be the only team in baseball right now being helped out by the delay of games due to the coronavirus. Houston was at the front of a huge cheating scandal unearthed this past offseason, ultimately resulting in them firing their manager AJ Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow. Players across MLB have reacted to the scandal with outrage, and it certainly feels like they had a target on their backs going into the season.
As it turns out though, Commissioner Rob Manfred had some bad news for fans hoping for the worst for the Astros. On ESPN’s Baseball Tonight with Buster Olney, it was revealed that the wording in the one-year ban for Luhnow and Hinch applies regardless of whether or not games are played.
The suspensions for Jeff Luhnow, former General Manager of the Astros and their former Manager AJ Hinch, will end late this year regardless of whatever any games are played. Commissioner Rob Manfred announced his decision, the specific wording tied their suspension to the end of the 2020 World Series and not to a particular number of games.
In other words, even if there is not a single game played in 2020, AJ Hinch and Jeff Luhnow would be allowed to return to baseball in 2021. Most fans already felt like the Astros got off light in their punishment, so this revelation certainly does not help that.
Not a single Astros player was punished for their part in the electronic sign-stealing scandal. Alex Cora, who was Houston’s bench coach in 2017, lost his job as Boston’s manager as a result of the scandal. Cora’s punishment is still pending the completion of the investigation of the Red Sox, though Manfred has said he has everything he needs to make a decision.
The Astros were fined the maximum $5 million and lost their first and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021. Other than that, the Astros pretty much got off with a slap on the wrist for something that resulted in a 2017 World Series Championship.
The news that Luhnow and Hinch will be able to return to baseball in 2021 regardless of games played will not go over well in the baseball world.