Athletics

A's pitcher Sean Manaea rips Astros over sign-stealing scandal apology

A's pitcher Sean Manaea rips Astros over sign-stealing scandal apology

Like a bank robber found with the bag of money stolen from the vault claiming the crime was victimless, the Houston Astros refuse to show real remorse when it comes to their sign-stealing scandal.

And Sean Manaea has had it.

The A's starting pitcher took the Astros to task Thursday after the Astros held a press conference to answer questions about the biggest story in baseball. Astros owner Jim Crane claimed the Astros' digital sign-stealing had no impact on the outcome of games, and players like Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve offered milquetoast apologies that reeked of insincerity. 

To Manaea, that's bush league.

“I saw a couple of interviews and they all said pretty much the same thing -- they skated by everything, they swept everything under the rug,” Manaea told Susan Slusser of The San Francisco Chronicle. “They didn’t own up to anything and they’re trying to move on which is like -- what are you guys trying to move on from? You haven’t even said what it is you did.

“They just now said they’re sorry, but what about this entire offseason? It was like: deny, deny, deny. When the time comes, you have to say what you’re trying to move on from. It’s crazy.”

The scandal first came to light when A's starter Mike Fiers, who pitched for the Astros in 2017, told The Athletic in November that his former team had stolen signs using video technology during their 2017 run to the World Series. After an MLB investigation, manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were fired. Bench coaches Alex Cora and Carlos Beltran, who had moved on to manage the Boston Red Sox and New York Mets, respectively, also found themselves in the unemployment line.

Still, the Astros have bristled at the idea that they did anything that far outside the lines, But ask any major league pitcher and they'll tell you how much of an impact the sign-stealing had not only on the outcome of games, but also the integrity of the sport.

“It’s a very, very unfair advantage,” Manaea told Slusser. “It’s supposed to be the batter reacting to the pitcher --  that’s the beauty of it. It takes all of that away. It’s messed up.

“It’s like giving your brother the junk controller with the button that doesn’t work and then just whooping his butt all the time.”

[RELATED: How A's plan to avoid Wild Card Game, improve on 97 wins]

The Astros will face questions all season about the scandal and the legitimacy of their World Series title. Crane can say their actions didn't impact the games, but that blatant lie shows how something of this magnitude could permeate the Astros clubhouse. When there is lack of accountability at the top of the organization, and Crane took zero blame Thursday, no one else will feel the need to show remorse.

“What’s the point of cheating then? Why as a team did you collectively do it? Why did no one stop it?” Manaea asked in response to Crane's comments. “You’re not cheating to get worse or be the same. You’re cheating to win.”

MLB rumors: A's expected to sign prospect Pedro Pineda for $4M or more

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AP

MLB rumors: A's expected to sign prospect Pedro Pineda for $4M or more

The A's aren't known for handing out large contracts and could have some tough free-agency decisions to make on Marcus Semien, Matt Chapman and Matt Olson in the coming years.

But the A's are expected to make a splash on the international market. While MLB's season continues to be on hiatus with the coronavirus pandemic, the signing period still is scheduled to open on July 2 but the league does have the ability to delay the start date until Jan. 15, 2021. 

Baseball America's Ben Badler reported Monday that the A's are likely to hand out the largest J2 international contract this year. Oakland is expected to sign outfielder Pedro Pineda out of the Dominican Republic for more than $4 million. 

Pineda, 16, already is listed at 6-feet tall and 180 pounds. Here's how Badler describes Pineda's skill set: "He's a strong, athletic, physical center fielder with a loud tool set and a power/speed threat. He's a center fielder with excellent speed, a fast bat and the power potential to hit 25-plus home runs."

Here's a video of Pineda hitting and wearing A's gear last month.

Baseball America also has a longer video of Pineda launching homers.

[RELATED: Stewart addresses how short MLB season will affect players]

The A's signed shortstop Robert Pauson, MLB.com's No. 2 international prospect for 2019, to a $5.1 million contract last July. Pauson, 17, already is ranked as the A's No. 4 prospect by MLB Pipeline. He sits behind just Jesus Luzardo, A.J. Puk and Sean Murphy, all of whom made their big league debuts last year.

The A's can only hope Pineda has as much talent as Pauson. Both players should add to Oakland's top-heavy farm system.

Why Tony La Russa believes 1989 A's are best Bay Area team ever assembled

Why Tony La Russa believes 1989 A's are best Bay Area team ever assembled

The 1989 A’s were something special.

They were crowned World Series champions after defeating the Giants in four games that bookended the devastating Loma Prieta earthquake. Oakland also finished the regular season with a 99-63 record. And for Tony La Russa, the team’s manager at the time, he dubbed it the best Bay Area championship team ever.

“I’m a great believer in not disrespecting anybody, whether it’s a great 49er team, or the Warriors, or the Giants, but there isn’t any team that would be better than the ‘89 A’s,” La Russa said in a recent interview with 95.7 The Game. “Because they were absolutely complete in every way. Not just talented checking every box, but also in their attitude about teammates playing hard, playing tough.”

NBC Sports Bay Area asked fans last week to vote for the best Bay Area dynasty of all time. While the mid-1970s A's team was included, the late-1980s A's were not.

Still, the 1989 A's were pretty good.

Mark McGwire was 25 years old and hit a team-leading 33 home runs that season with infielder Carney Lansford hitting a .336/.398/.405 line with 185 hits. 

This team also had Dave Henderson and Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson roaming the outfield. Rickey would end the season leading the league with 77 swiped bags. World Series MVP Dave Stewart was a dominant starter. Out of the bullpen, Dennis Eckersley collected 33 saves on the season, boasting a 1.56 ERA.

“So, the ‘89 team had, not only was it a really good team, almost great, but once you added Rickey, then we became truly great, and we added Mike Moore, which added an outstanding starting pitcher to the rotation, but it had something else man, it had a fever going,” La Russa said.

La Russa named every aspect of the team that brought them back to the Fall Classic that season. The infield, the outfield, the pitching staff, and of course, the coaches.

[RELATED: Stew describes coronavirus scare]

The team also possessed the perfect balance of rookie and veterans to get to the big stage and win it all. 

“It was the perfect team,” he said.

Just about.