Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has had to make some very tough decisions in his five … [+] years in office, but Monday’s penalties against the Houston Astros has to be his toughest. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has guts. There’s no question about that.
He’s had to make some tough calls during his first five years in office, but none tougher than the penalties he handed down Monday against the Houston Astros for electronic sign stealing.
Manfred made the right decision.
Essentially, he gave the death penalty to Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch by suspending them each from MLB for the season, effective immediately. When they were instantly fired by Houston owner Jim Crane, one has to wonder whether either man will work in the business again.
They are virtually radioactive.
In what amounted to a nine-page legal brief, Manfred exonerated Crane, but fined the club $5 million, the most allowed under MLB’s constitution – which binds the owners and the 30 clubs together – and forfeited four of Houston’s upcoming top draft picks.
Crane and Luhnow denied they knew anything about the sign stealing and Hinch admitted he didn’t do anything about the replay review room, trash can pounding, and television screen next to the Astros dugout used in the scheme during the club’s 2017 World Series-winning season. Hinch, though, did destroy the TV screen a couple of times.
The bottom line, Manfred said, is they all should have known about it and stopped it. That’s enlightened leadership.