The Cubs' perspective on Astros sign-stealing scandal

The Cubs' perspective on Astros sign-stealing scandal

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The baseball world is reeling following The Athletic's report earlier this week detailing how the Houston Astros electronically stole signs in 2017.

It was a revelation that will have a major impact on the sport — and the Astros, in particular — for years to come, but it was not altogether surprising. Sign stealing has been a staple in the game for decades and recent technology has only added different avenues for teams looking to cheat.

What was most notable here was the alleged use of a centerfield camera in Houston that allowed the Astros to determine what pitch was coming in the dugout and then relayed that information to teammates in the batter's box by banging on a garbage can.

Here's a great example of the Astros' system at work:

Theo Epstein was asked about the scandal at the GM Meetings Wednesday and initially admitted it's best for him and presidents/GMs of other teams not to comment on the matter while MLB took the lead looking into the matter.

"Certainly not something to be swept under the rug," Epstein then said. "It needs to be fully investigated and bring light to it and I'm sure there will be appropriate action taken."

Epstein said he and the Cubs have encountered similar sign-stealing tactics in the past (including in the playoffs), but wouldn't get into any specifics with teams.

"There are always a number of teams that there's rumors about or more than rumors," Epstein said. "It's just part of baseball. I'm sure some of them are based in fact and some are based in fiction. It's just important that any time this type of stuff comes up, MLB has to investigate it and take it really seriously and we understand that they are."

With the Astros in particular, their sign-stealing may have had a major impact on the career of current Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish. The veteran right-hander pitched against the Astros in the 2017 World Series and gave up 8 earned runs on 9 hits and 2 walks in 3.1 innings across two starts in that Fall Classic. The first of those two outings came in Houston in Game 3.

It was initially thought Darvish was tipping his pitches, but the Dodgers have since concluded that wasn't the case:

Those were the last two outings for Darvish before he entered free agency and eventually signed a six-year pact with the Cubs. As he went through a difficult debut season in Chicago, he admitted that the way his Dodgers tenure ended and the backlash he received from fans in L.A. was tough to deal with.

As we've seen many times already this offseason, Darvish responded in hilarious fashion to the news on Twitter:

He's also received apologies from a number of Dodgers fans who now have more context regarding Darvish's performance in the World Series. 

These latest reports on the Astros won't help the Dodgers garner a 2017 World Series trophy and it won't change Darvish's numbers, but at least it's some vindication for the Cubs pitcher.

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Baseball America names Cubs’ Miguel Amaya as breakthrough catching prospect

Baseball America names Cubs’ Miguel Amaya as breakthrough catching prospect

If and when the 2020 baseball season commences, Cubs prospect Miguel Amaya could be in store for a big performance.

Baseball America named Amaya, one of the Cubs top minor leaguers, as its breakthrough catching prospect for 2020.

The Cubs added Amaya to their 40-man roster last November to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. The 21-year-old is known as a strong defensive catcher who's only getting better at the plate. Last season, he hit .235/.351/.402 with 11 homers and 57 RBIs in 99 games at advanced-A Myrtle Beach.

Amaya was in big league camp this spring before being optioned to Double-A Tennessee on March 10. The Cubs have one of the best catching duos in baseball in Willson Contreras and Victor Caratini, so we won’t see Amaya in the big leagues until 2021 at the earliest.

That doesn’t mean Amaya can't play in the show right now. Cubs manager David Ross had a strong parting message for Amaya upon his way out of camp.

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Two Cubs employees test positive for COVID-19

Two Cubs employees test positive for COVID-19

Two Cubs employees who attended the same March 8 training session have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, the team confirmed Sunday.

One is recovering at home; the other hospitalized receiving treatment, the team said.

The seasonal game-day workers informed the team of their conditions in recent days.

“There’s nothing definitive to suggest [the] training may have contributed,” team spokesman Julian Green said, noting nearly three weeks have passed since the annual season staff training session.

But the team has responded “out of an abundance of caution, transparency and responsibility” during this uncertain time, Green added.

The U.S. surgeon general on Friday identified Chicago as a coronavirus “hot spot,” anticipating a wave of new cases.

The Sun-Times first reported the March 23 and 24 positive tests.