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Rob Manfred says fallout from Astros sign-stealing scandal will act as 'deterrent' in the future

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred speaks to the media

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred speaks to the media at the owners meeting in Arlington, Texas, on Nov. 21, 2019. Credit: AP/LM Otero

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Wednesday that the fallout from the sign-stealing investigation will act as a “deterrent” for that type of behavior in the game in the future.

Manfred appeared on Fox Business with Maria Bartiromo on Wednesday morning and was asked about the investigation. Manfred released his nine-page report on MLB’s investigation into sign-stealing by the Astros during their 2017 World Series title season last Monday. MLB’s investigation into sign-stealing by the Red Sox during their 2018 World Series title season remains open.

Wednesday’s appearance on Fox Business marked Manfred’s first interview since the report was released. Manfred did the interview from Davos, Switzerland, where the World Economic Forum is being held.

Manfred suspended Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch without pay for the 2020 season. Astros owner Jim Crane later fired Luhnow and Hinch during a news conference in Houston on the same day that the report was released.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who was the Astros bench coach in 2017, was implicated in the report with his name appearing 11 times. The Red Sox and Cora parted ways last Tuesday.

Mets manager Carlos Beltran, a respected veteran player with the Astros in 2017 and the only player identified by name in the report, stepped down last Thursday. The Mets said they and Beltran had “mutually decided to part ways.”

“Four really accomplished baseball people – Carlos Beltran, Alex Cora, Jeff Luhnow and AJ Hinch – lost their jobs over this,” Manfred said. “Nobody likes to see that happen, but I do think it’s the kind of message that will serve as a deterrent for this behavior going forward. In terms of continuing the investigation, we have an open investigation on the Red Sox. What I’ve said to the owners is if I have some credible evidence that any other team was involved, they will be investigated with the same thoroughness that we investigated the Astros.”

Manfred was also asked about the  Los Angeles City Council voting this week to ask MLB to award the 2017 and ’18 World Series titles to the Dodgers. The Dodgers lost to the Astros in 2017 and the Red Sox in 2018. Manfred indicated that there were no plans to take the titles from the Astros and Red Sox.

“We haven’t concluded our investigation with the Red Sox so it’s a little hard to take the trophy away from somebody who hasn’t yet been found to do something wrong,” Manfred said. “We don’t know what the outcome of that’s going to be. I think that the second flaw is whatever the impact of the sign stealing was it could have changed who was in the World Series. Absolutely, unclear that the Dodgers would’ve been the World Series champion. I think there’s a long tradition in baseball of not trying to change what happened. I think the answer from our perspective is to be transparent about what the investigation showed and let our fans make their own decisions about what happened.”

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