Executives from other MLB teams have anonymously expressed their dissatisfaction with what they considered a weak reprimand against the Astros for one of the most profound cheating scandals in the sport’s history, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
“[Astros owner Jim] Crane won,” a team president told Passan. “The entire thing was programmed to protect the future of the franchise. He got his championship. He keeps his team. His fine is nothing. The sport lost, but Crane won.”
Commissioner Rob Manfred released a report on Monday detailing an illicit sign-stealing operation that the Astros systemically pursued during the 2017 regular and postseason and through parts of the 2018 season.
As punishment, the Astros were ordered to give up their first- and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021 and were issued a fine of $5 million, the maximum allowed under the MLB Constitution. Manager AJ Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow were suspended for a season and later fired.
The punishment was hefty to some but unsatisfying to many others, reports Passan. Crane, the players and other members of the front office were not disciplined. Their 2017 World Series title, too, remained in tact.
“It will scare employees of MLB teams from cheating, at least for a while,” an executive told Passan, “and the man who owns the team gets to enjoy his ring. He gets off lightly and can start with a clean slate.”