Generally, the biggest off-season story in MLB are the numerous free agent signings with focus on where the top stars will land. Unfortunately. this year the signings are somewhat overshadowed by the Houston Astros sign stealing scandal which took firm root after it was revealed that several members of the Astros illegally stole signs during the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
While there was speculation for several seasons that the Astros were stealing signs, it wasn’t until Mike Fiers, who pitched for Houston during the 2017 season, spilled the beans that the team used video technology in center field to steal signs from the opposing team’s catchers. The diabolical scheme featured Astros staff members viewing a live camera feed from behind the dugout, then relayed the signs to the batters as to what pitch to expect next. While there was no such evidence during the 2019 season, Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch, who has since been fired, were suspended for this season.
In addition, penalties of $5 million and loss of first and second round picks in 2020 and 2021 were assessed to the organization. Carlos Beltran, who played with the Astros in 2017, left the Mets after been hired manager in November of last year. Although several players from the 2017 Astros apologized and the penalties against the team were the most harsh handed down in baseball history, many around baseball feel justice has yet to be served. Various figures around the league want Jose Altuve’s MVP award stripped as well as the Astros World Series title.
Players around the league are not pleased and have expressed as much. Here is what they had to say:
“It’s sad for baseball. It’s tough. They cheated. I don’t agree with the punishments, the players not getting anything. It was a player-driven thing. It sucks, too, because guys’ career may have been affected, a lot of people lost jobs. It was tough. Me going up to the plate knowing what was coming – it would be pretty fun up there” – Mike Trout
“I wasn’t a fan of the punishment. I thought it was a little weak for a player-driven scheme. I just don’t think winning the 2017 World Series holds any value. That’s how I feel. It wasn’t earned the way of playing the game right” – Aaron Judge
“I thought the apologies were whatever. I thought Jim Crane’s was weak. I thought Manfred’s punishment was weak, giving them immunity, I mean these guys were cheating for three years. I think what people don’t realize is that Altuve stole an MVP from Judge in ’17. Everyone knows they stole the ring from us” – Cody Bellinger
“I feel like every single guy over there needs a beating. It’s wrong. They’re messing with people’s career. There’s right ways to do it and wrong ways to do it. I 100 percent disagree with way they did it.” – Nick Markakis
“If they didn’t get caught, they’d still be doing it. They’re only doing this apology because they got caught. There’s a lot of feelings on it and I know everybody around the league is pretty upset, and rightfully so because it’s really a disgrace to the game.” – Kris Bryant
“Calling the World Series trophy a piece of metal, I mean, I don’t know if the commissioner has ever won anything in his life. Maybe he hasn’t. But the reason every guy is in this room, the reason every guy is working out all offseason and showing up to camp early and putting in all the time and effort is specifically for that trophy which, by the way, is called the Commissioner’s Trophy. So for him to devalue it the way he did yesterday tells me how out of touch he is with the players in this game.” – Justin Turner