Nationals

Ex-Astros GM says team still employs staffers involved in scandal

Nationals

The Houston Astros still employ multiple people who were involved in the illegal sign-stealing scheme that was uncovered last offseason, former general manager Jeff Luhnow said to Houston’s KPRC-TV in his first interview since being fired in January.

Luhnow sat down for a 37-minute interview that aired Monday, revealing his sentiments toward the organization that let him go despite his insistence that he wasn’t involved in the plot.

“The people who were involved that didn’t leave naturally to go to other teams are all still employed by the Astros,” Luhnow said. “In fact, one of the people who was intimately involved, I had demoted from a position in the clubhouse to a position somewhere else. After I was fired, he was promoted back into the clubhouse. So none of those people faced any repercussions. They weren’t discussed in the report but the evidence is all there that they were involved.”

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Commissioner Rob Manfred led an investigation into the Astros, which resulted in the one-year suspensions of Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch, $5 million in fines levied on the organization and the losses of consecutive first- and second-round draft picks. Though neither Luhnow nor Hinch were found to have participated in the scheme, both of them got the ax from owner Jim Crane anyway.

According to Luhnow, he obtained access to 22,000 text messages between his employees that indicated he wasn’t involved in the implementation of the codebreaker system that was used to decode opposing catchers’ signs.

 

“They were communicating signs, and this was to coaches, to people in the video room,” Luhnow said. “It’s all there in black and white. And what’s also clear from it is who’s not involved. I’m not implicated. I’m not in any of those text messages. In fact, there’s a few text messages where they say, ‘Don’t tell Jeff.’ So, it’s pretty clear that I wasn’t involved from that. But it’s also clear who was involved and how often it happened, and the extent to which it happened.

“It’s pretty clear who was involved in the video decoding scheme, when it started, how often it happened, and basically when it ended. And it’s also pretty clear who was not involved. And I don’t know why that information, that evidence, wasn’t discussed in the ruling, wasn’t used.”

Luhnow’s suspension will be up after the conclusion of the World Series. He will be free to sign with any team, though it’s unclear what the level of interest will be in the former executive.