MLB suspends Houston Astros executives for 2020 season after cheating investigation

  • The Astros, which won the World Series in 2017, will forfeit its first- and second-round draft selections for the next two seasons.
  • General Manager Jeff Lunhow and team manager A.J. Hinch were both suspended without pay for one season.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Robert Manfred issued "significant discipline" to the Houston Astros and team executives Monday, saying the team violated league rules by using technology to steal signs during the 2017 playoffs and 2018 season.

The Astros, which won the World Series in 2017, will forfeit its first- and second-round draft selections for the next two seasons, the MLB said in a statement. General Manager Jeff Lunhow and team manager A.J. Hinch were both suspended without pay for one season. 

The league found the team guilty of using a video replay to decode and transmit the opposing team's hand signals, using a "runner" from a video replay room to relay the information to the dugout, and then another player to signal to the batter which kind of pitch to expect. The Astros later installed a video monitor close to the dugout, saving time by eliminating the need for a runner. 

The league said most of the team's players on its 2017 roster either received sign information or somehow participated in the scheme by helping to decode the signs. 

"Although the Astros' players did not attempt to hide what they were doing from Hinch or other Astros employees, they were concerned about getting caught by players from other teams," Manfred said in his report. "Several players told my investigators that there was a sense of 'panic' in the Astros' dugout after White Sox pitcher Danny Farquhar appeared to notice the trash can bangs."

Former assistant general manager Brandon Taubman, who was fired in October after verbally harassing a female reporter, was separately barred from the MLB over that conduct through the 2020 World Series, the league said. The league threatened to permanently ban Taubman, who will be able to apply for reinstatement, if he's found in violation of any MLB rules. 

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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