There's been some movement this morning in the MLB investigation into the Astros' (& others') sign-stealing scandal. Here's the rundown:
ESPN's Jeff Passan says that the Astros' punishment is coming "within the next two weeks." Passan:
The targets for discipline will be employees of the team, including the front office and on-field coaching personnel, but will not include the players involved in the scheme, according to three players who have been interviewed. Those who could face harsh discipline include Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, Astros manager AJ Hinch and other front-office members, sources said. The team could also face a record fine...
...Multiple executives see the Astros' coming discipline as a litmus test for MLB: The stronger the penalties, the likelier they will be to deter teams from using technology to cheat. Two Astros officials said they expect the league to issue a transparent statement upon the announcement of the discipline, outlining how the team cheated, how the league went about gathering information and how Manfred arrived at the penalties.
So basically it's like I told you six weeks ago when I wrote:
Manfred is just going to let the Astros take the fall for this one, and let Houston's punishment serve as a warning to the other teams a la the Barves and the International Free Agent spending. Also, the owners want to make sure that if anyone's getting screwed, it's them doing the screwing, be they free agents, or minor-leaguers, or teenagers from the Dominican. Crane, and the Astros, are about to get screwed.
My prediction for the punishment is as follows:
$5 million fine
Loss of first two draft picks
81-game suspension for AJ Hinch
1-year ban for Jeff Luhnow
Keep in mind these are just predictions, because no one in the org is talking.
*Earlier this morning, The Athletic's Evan Drellich & Ken Rosenthal reported that the investigation into the Astros has expanded to the Red Sox, and the Red Sox used their video room illegally. Drellich/Rosenthal:
Three people who were with the Red Sox during their 108-win 2018 season told The Athletic that during that regular season, at least some players visited the video replay room during games to learn the sign sequence opponents were using. The replay room is just steps from the home dugout at Fenway Park, through the same doors that lead to the batting cage. Every team's replay staff travels to road games, making the system viable in other parks as well...
...As far back as 2015, the Yankees used the video replay room to learn other teams' sign sequences, multiple sources told The Athletic. Other teams likely were doing the same. Sources said the Red Sox began doing it no later than 2016.
(You can read a non-paywalled article on this here)
RIP to Manfred's "no reason to believe" that any of this extends beyond Houston.
Will the Red Sox catch any punishment? I don't think so. Maybe Alex Cora gets a suspension, since he's a link to the 2017 Astros team all brought down by Mike F. Fiers. The Red Sox have promised to cooperate with MLB.
*Carlos Correa and his family were in Puerto Rico during the round of earthquakes, but appear to be okay.
*Brian McTaggart projects the 2020 Opening Day Roster.
*The 2 1/2-year old girl hit by the foul ball at Minute Maid Park that led to the expansion of the netting around the field level continues to be treated for a brain injury. According to the lawyer representing the family, she sustained injuries similar to that of a stroke.