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Monday, January 13, 2020

Astros’ Jeff Luhnow, AJ Hinch suspended for 2020 | MLB.com

Wow1

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch have each been suspended without pay for the 2020 season by Major League Baseball, which on Monday released the findings from its investigation into Houston’s sign-stealing allegations.

Houston also forfeits its first- and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 MLB Drafts as part of the penalties. In addition, the Astros were fined $5 million, which is the highest allowable fine under the Major League Constitution.

In addition, former Astros assistant GM Brandon Taubman, who was dismissed by the club in October after he made offensive and insensitive comments directed at a group of female reporters at the conclusion of the American League Championship Series, has been suspended for one year. Taubman, who is currently not employed by a Major League club, will not be able to work in baseball during that time.

The suspensions of Luhnow, Hinch and Taubman are to begin immediately, ending on the day following the completion of the 2020 World Series.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 13, 2020 at 02:09 PM | 257 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: a.j. hinch, astros, jeff luhnow

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   201. Howie Menckel Posted: January 14, 2020 at 10:58 AM (#5915564)
bump on the drum
   202. flournoy Posted: January 14, 2020 at 11:04 AM (#5915569)
I don't really understand how this scheme worked for the Astros. During the timeframe that it's been established that this was happening, the Astros had players leave and play for opposing teams. Let's take Cameron Maybin, for example, who played for the Astros in 2017 and against them as a Mariner in 2018. Would he not tell his teammates that the Astros steal signs, and to listen for the trash can noises? Then once they hear those noises, the pitcher and catcher can go to an alternate set of signs. But now the Mariners know about the issue, so anyone who left the Mariners and played for someone else would then inform their new teammates. I just don't see how this can work in a league where players move from team to team.
   203. Kiko Sakata Posted: January 14, 2020 at 11:10 AM (#5915573)
I just don't see how this can work in a league where players move from team to team.


Well, ultimately, it didn't, which is why Luhnow and Hinch are out of jobs and Cora is about to be. For exactly the reason you say: a former Astro blew the whistle.
   204. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 14, 2020 at 11:11 AM (#5915574)
Let's take Cameron Maybin, for example, who played for the Astros in 2017 and against them as a Mariner in 2018. Would he not tell his teammates that the Astros steal signs, and to listen for the trash can noises?
The Astros had a pair of identical twin hit men for enforcement.
   205. flournoy Posted: January 14, 2020 at 11:24 AM (#5915588)
Well, ultimately, it didn't, which is why Luhnow and Hinch are out of jobs and Cora is about to be. For exactly the reason you say: a former Astro blew the whistle.


Right, which seems the inevitable conclusion of such a scheme. But I'm wondering how it lasted as long as it did. There are indications (the Logan Morrison stuff) that it had been ongoing since as early as 2014. It just doesn't seem plausible to me that within, say, two years of implementing the scheme, there could be any team out there unaware of it. And if the opponent knows about it, then it can't work.

I wouldn't expect many players to go public a la Mike Fiers, but I think almost all former Astros would inform their new teammates.
   206. shoelesjoe Posted: January 14, 2020 at 11:26 AM (#5915591)
Let's take Cameron Maybin, for example, who played for the Astros in 2017 and against them as a Mariner in 2018.


The Astros stopped using this particular scheme early in 2018. Maybe player movement was the reason why.
   207. bunyon Posted: January 14, 2020 at 11:37 AM (#5915593)
Hinch, on the other hand. What the heck was he thinking? I’ll destroy the TV twice but I won’t tell people to cut it out ? Was he really even in charge ?

I'm probably a lousy manager (in any profession) but I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out what Hinch could do when the whole team was in on it. He can't bench everyone. You can't bench Jose Altuve (for example). Managers are mid-level at this point and everyone knows it. If he goes to the press, he gets fired. If he benches his best players, he gets fired. If he yells at his boss, he gets fired. If he goes to the IT guys, they ask his boss.

I'm okay with the suspension. He was the manager, he made a lot of money, won a ring and, when the story broke, he didn't come clean. But I really don't get what he do besides make his feelings known when it's the entire team (and help from much of the non-player personnel and, probably, your boss). I doubt any manager today has the authority and power to stop this.

I don't know that Luhnow or Hinch will be back. They're good at their jobs, yes. But it isn't like there aren't lots of people who could do those jobs. On the other hand, baseball loves its retreads.
   208. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 14, 2020 at 11:43 AM (#5915595)
I'm probably a lousy manager (in any profession) but I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out what Hinch could do when the whole team was in on it. He can't bench everyone. You can't bench Jose Altuve (for example). Managers are mid-level at this point and everyone knows it. If he goes to the press, he gets fired. If he benches his best players, he gets fired. If he yells at his boss, he gets fired. If he goes to the IT guys, they ask his boss.

He goes to Luhnow and says "This stops now or I go to the press. If you fire me, I go to the press."
   209. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 14, 2020 at 11:45 AM (#5915596)
Like basically everyone I went to college with! It's gross!

A depressingly large percentage of the intellectual capital of America is employed not in creating wealth, but in shifting it from one pocket to another.
   210. Nasty Nate Posted: January 14, 2020 at 11:46 AM (#5915597)
He goes to Luhnow and says "This stops now or I go to the press. If you fire me, I go to the press."
He could also just quit.
   211. Howie Menckel Posted: January 14, 2020 at 11:47 AM (#5915600)
yep.

I get that he seems like the last guy who ever wanted to be in such a predicament. but he was - so he had to make difficult choices. Hinch tried to thread the needle, but that didn't cut it in this case. so he pays the piper.
   212. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 14, 2020 at 11:50 AM (#5915603)
He could also just quit.

My way, if he gets fired, he collects on the remainder of his contract.
   213. bunyon Posted: January 14, 2020 at 11:51 AM (#5915604)
Like I said, I agree Hinch should be suspended because he didn't make the ethical choice. That's different from "he could have stopped it".
   214. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: January 14, 2020 at 11:52 AM (#5915606)
Hinch can call a team meeting telling them all that its bush league ####, and that it stops now, or heads are gonna roll.

Maybe they all just snicker at him and keep doing it. But, once he failed to do that, he has zero defense. He was derelict of duty. He didn't do his job.

   215. Nasty Nate Posted: January 14, 2020 at 11:53 AM (#5915609)
Like I said, I agree Hinch should be suspended because he didn't make the ethical choice. That's different from "he could have stopped it".
If he confesses publicly what is going on, doesn't that stop it?
   216. bunyon Posted: January 14, 2020 at 11:57 AM (#5915612)
If he confesses publicly what is going on, doesn't that stop it?

Probably. He definitely never works again, though.

I was mostly responding to the question someone posed: "Was he not in charge?" The answer is, no, he wasn't. Nor is any manager these days.
   217. Nasty Nate Posted: January 14, 2020 at 12:00 PM (#5915619)
I was mostly responding to the question someone posed: "Was he not in charge?" The answer is, no, he wasn't. Nor is any manager these days.
True.
   218. SoSH U at work Posted: January 14, 2020 at 12:08 PM (#5915626)
I just don't see how this can work in a league where players move from team to team.


Players who weren't juicing remained quiet about others in the league who were, even though that had a far more direct affect on them. That pull to keep quiet is pretty strong.

   219. PreservedFish Posted: January 14, 2020 at 12:15 PM (#5915629)
Yeah, in some of the articles that asked players about Fiers' story, the players were obviously very concerned with whether it was or was not snitching.
   220. Blastin Posted: January 14, 2020 at 12:17 PM (#5915631)
gly large percentage of the intellectual capital of America is employed not in creating wealth, but in shifting it from one pocket to another.


I knew so many truly brilliant people in college (and at the time I saw them as much smarter than I was). Cellists, biology majors, whatever. Grew up with money, no desperation of what to do, could really have tried out anything.

Nah, i-banking. Dassit.

I literally ran away from it and was broke for most of a decade, but I'm starting to figure it out in my own niche.


I realized I needed to stop spending all my time with them when I couldn't help saying, "ah, so you help the rich get richer" at parties in my 20s. They didn't like that.

With a few drinks in them, Taubman's antics were probably common.

Burn it down!


Anyway, the next people they bring in, all you have to do is tell them it's expected they won't flaunt their methods. Can they find someone as skilled but with better ethics?

   221. PreservedFish Posted: January 14, 2020 at 12:24 PM (#5915636)
I realized I needed to stop spending all my time with them when I couldn't help saying, "ah, so you help the rich get richer" at parties in my 20s. They didn't like that.


I like your style, Blastin.
   222. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 14, 2020 at 12:34 PM (#5915640)

Players who weren't juicing remained quiet about others in the league who were, even though that had a far more direct affect on them. That pull to keep quiet is pretty strong.


There were players on every team who were juicing though. Hitters as well as pitchers. Rat out your ex-teammates, and someone's likely to rat out or investigate your current teammates, too.

While I don't think the Astros were the only team electronic sign-stealing, there clearly were teams not doing it. And it's easy to see why a pitcher would be pissed about it, given that only the hitters benefit.
   223. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 14, 2020 at 12:34 PM (#5915641)
I realized I needed to stop spending all my time with them when I couldn't help saying, "ah, so you help the rich get richer" at parties in my 20s. They didn't like that.

With a few drinks in them, Taubman's antics were probably common.

Burn it down!


In my younger days I was known to opine that there should be a season in NY when you could freely club investment bankers, like they do with seals. Unfortunately I'm more religious now, so can't support this excellent proposal.
   224. Srul Itza Posted: January 14, 2020 at 12:42 PM (#5915647)
So, somebody sees the feed on a video, relays it to someone else, who then starts to bang on a garbage can.

It the damn pitchers just pitched like they did in the old days, get the sign and pitch the ball, it would not have worked.


Also, the idea that Hinch could not have stopped it seems like excuse making, because he never simply told them to stop. If you're too afraid or powerless to give that kind of order, maybe you should be fired.
   225. Zonk didn't order a hit on an ambassador Posted: January 14, 2020 at 12:51 PM (#5915649)
Luhnow will go work for some evil company, like Goldman Sachs or McKinsey, and be well-paid for doing terrible things. Stuff like he did with the Astros is nothing but a job qualification there.


Since the newer thread appears to be overtaking this one on the matter, let me ruin(?) this one by saying that I don't know if I'd agree with that.

This was/is one of the things that fascinates me about how MLB handled this... spanning in the concepts of collective culpability, the lack of punishment for the prime participants -- and at a broader level, this sort of metrics and MBA-esque running of a front office.

FWIW - we need to distinguish between ethics and morals (cue Matthew Broderick).... Ethically - those evil empires in the consulting, investment, etc world do clearly have better controls than MLB. I'm not really sure that we can do a moral comparison because we're talking about a game vs well, "real world".
   226. flournoy Posted: January 14, 2020 at 12:53 PM (#5915651)
Players who weren't juicing remained quiet about others in the league who were, even though that had a far more direct affect on them. That pull to keep quiet is pretty strong.


That's different. Prior to a series against a team with a player who someone knows to be juicing, that wouldn't be called out at a team meeting. "So-and-so is using steroids." Okay, so what? That doesn't change any strategy or tactics. But to know of the opposing team's methods for stealing signs and not inform your own team would not go over well. If I were pitching against the Astros and a player on my team knew they were stealing my signs and how but didn't tell me, I would be really pissed off.
   227. Blastin Posted: January 14, 2020 at 12:55 PM (#5915652)
In my younger days I was known to opine that there should be a season in NY when you could freely club investment bankers, like they do with seals


That's terrible! Seals are cute.
   228. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 14, 2020 at 12:57 PM (#5915655)
A depressingly large percentage of the intellectual capital of America is employed not in creating wealth, but in shifting it from one pocket to another.

In my younger days I was known to opine that there should be a season in NY when you could freely club investment bankers, like they do with seals.


Dude, you work for an insurance company and spend most of your day posting on BBTF. But if you want to give it a shot, I say bring it :)
   229. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 14, 2020 at 12:57 PM (#5915656)
That's terrible! Seals are cute.

Agree, that's why I want to club bankers instead.
   230. Mefisto Posted: January 14, 2020 at 12:59 PM (#5915657)
I think that everyone here is missing a key point: the Astros cheated, yeah ok, but they did it to beat the Yankees and Dodgers. We should cut them some slack.
   231. pikepredator Posted: January 14, 2020 at 01:17 PM (#5915666)
Hinch, on the other hand. What the heck was he thinking? I’ll destroy the TV twice but I won’t tell people to cut it out ?


given his level of demonstrated integrity, I'm thinking he destroyed the monitors in fits of anger after losing and was frustrated that the cheating wasn't effective enough, and is now trying to spin it.
   232. Traderdave Posted: January 14, 2020 at 02:03 PM (#5915680)
That's terrible! Seals are cute.


Seals are much tastier, though.
   233. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 14, 2020 at 02:28 PM (#5915690)
Luhnow built a franchise that averaged 104 wins over the last three years. If you're an owner and the established punishment for Luhnow getting caught is a $5 million fine and a couple of lost draft picks, then the downside isn't meaningful.
If you mean Luhnow is sufficiently talented that owners will think he can be successful without running afoul of the rules again, you’re probably right. However, if you think the penalties were so low that an owner is going to let Luhnow do something similar, that seems unlikely. The draft choices were worth a lot more than the fines, and the penalties would be higher the next time.
   234. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 14, 2020 at 02:36 PM (#5915693)
I'm probably a lousy manager (in any profession) but I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out what Hinch could do when the whole team was in on it.
All Hinch had to do was to tell Alex Cora & the video technicians to knock it off. He could have done that early, before anything was implemented. Sure, Luhnow may have had a ‘chat’ with him, but that would have required Luhnow to get his hands dirty. Luhnow, of course, maintains he would never have allowed the sign-stealing scheme if he had only known about it.
   235. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 14, 2020 at 02:51 PM (#5915699)
A depressingly large percentage of the intellectual capital of America is employed not in creating wealth, but in shifting it from one pocket to another.


And if you just work at generating a small amount of wealth for a company that is modestly profitable but not growing every year like a ####### tumor, they make it their mission to chop up your company and sell off the bits.
   236. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 14, 2020 at 02:53 PM (#5915700)
In my younger days I was known to opine that there should be a season in NY when you could freely club investment bankers, like they do with seals. Unfortunately I'm more religious now, so can't support this excellent proposal.


Speculators end up in Malebolge, right? In the boiling pitch?
   237. Zonk didn't order a hit on an ambassador Posted: January 14, 2020 at 03:01 PM (#5915704)
And if you just work at generating a small amount of wealth for a company that is modestly profitable but not growing every year like a ####### tumor, they make it their mission to chop up your company and sell off the bits.


But who is the "they" you blame for that?

Any company hiring say, a McKinsey, isn't doing so because the don't know they should be looking to become an acquisition or otherwise chop off pieces.... they're doing so because they do know that's what they want to do and they hire a company like McKinsey to do it most efficiently and profitably.

   238. Blastin Posted: January 14, 2020 at 03:02 PM (#5915705)
And if you just work at generating a small amount of wealth for a company that is modestly profitable but not growing every year like a ####### tumor, they make it their mission to chop up your company and sell off the bits.


Yep.
   239. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 14, 2020 at 03:13 PM (#5915708)
But who is the "they" you blame for that?

Any company hiring say, a McKinsey, isn't doing so because the don't know they should be looking to become an acquisition or otherwise chop off pieces.... they're doing so because they do know that's what they want to do and they hire a company like McKinsey to do it most efficiently and profitably.


Management is hiring the hitmen, but that doesn't excuse the hitmen.
   240. Zonk didn't order a hit on an ambassador Posted: January 14, 2020 at 03:24 PM (#5915713)
Management is hiring the hitmen, but that doesn't excuse the hitmen.


I suppose if one equates murder with M&A/restructuring/etc...

But even accepting that poor analogy, the solution is what... "management" should do it themselves... less efficiently? Not do it at all?
   241. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 14, 2020 at 03:32 PM (#5915716)

And if you just work at generating a small amount of wealth for a company that is modestly profitable but not growing every year like a ####### tumor, they make it their mission to chop up your company and sell off the bits.

If you just want to generate a modest amount of wealth, and can do that successfully, you should be ok. If you want to make millions by taking your company public, or you borrow a lot of money to fund rapid growth, then you're beholden to your investors / lenders.
   242. Blastin Posted: January 14, 2020 at 03:44 PM (#5915720)

I suppose if one equates murder with M&A


I'm into murders and executions mostly.
   243. Chip Posted: January 14, 2020 at 03:54 PM (#5915724)

He also says that the Yankees, Dodgers, and Red Sox were using technology to steal signs.


Believable. Also the Giants, Padres, Angels, Diamondbacks, Mariners, As, Rangers, Twins, Royals, Cardinals, Cubs, White Sox, Indians, Reds, Twins, Brewers, Tigers, Pirates, Phillies, Jays, Rays, Marlins, Braves, Nats, and Mets.

I mean, seriously, does anyone think this is something other than "These are the ones who got caught"?


If every team eventually gets their draft picks taken away, is there still a draft?

Boras and his peers may finally have their way to kill its anti-competitive wage suppression.
   244. bunyon Posted: January 14, 2020 at 04:10 PM (#5915728)
All Hinch had to do was to tell Alex Cora

Aha! Yes, of course. Cora he could fire. (I assume he had at least that much power).

I've not at all been arguing Hinch was a good guy here. Or even that he wanted to stop it. I just haven't seen how. Firing Cora and maybe demoting a couple of fringy players might have done it.

   245. bunyon Posted: January 14, 2020 at 04:12 PM (#5915730)
If every team eventually gets their draft picks taken away, is there still a draft?


It would leave the Orioles with all the picks.

They would still have trouble putting a staff together and Davis will continue to play first.
   246. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 14, 2020 at 04:20 PM (#5915733)
If you just want to generate a modest amount of wealth, and can do that successfully, you should be ok. If you want to make millions by taking your company public, or you borrow a lot of money to fund rapid growth, then you're beholden to your investors / lenders.


I was speaking from the perspective of workers, not ownership. The workers aren't the ones who decide to sell out to vulture capitalists.
   247. calming him down with his 57i66135 Posted: January 14, 2020 at 04:32 PM (#5915741)
If he confesses publicly what is going on, doesn't that stop it?
"russia, if you're listening..."
   248. . Posted: January 14, 2020 at 04:35 PM (#5915745)
And if you just work at generating a small amount of wealth for a company that is modestly profitable but not growing every year like a ####### tumor, they make it their mission to chop up your company and sell off the bits.


If some "vulture" was able to extricate Nutting from the captain's chair of the Pirates, you'd be ecstatically jumping for joy.
   249. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 14, 2020 at 05:13 PM (#5915757)
If some "vulture" was able to extricate Nutting from the captain's chair of the Pirates, you'd be ecstatically jumping for joy.


Not so much, no. I think that any new owner of the Pirates would be at least as bad, and possibly worse if he were heavily leveraged (as was the most recent group that bought the Marlins).

Also, vulture capitalists buy things in order to tear them apart and sell off the bits, and I have no idea why you think I'd want that to happen to the Pirates, were such a thing even possible.

Now please go away and troll somewhere else - the adults are talking.
   250. . Posted: January 14, 2020 at 05:53 PM (#5915769)
Not so much, no. I think that any new owner of the Pirates would be at least as bad, and possibly worse if he were heavily leveraged (as was the most recent group that bought the Marlins).


It had nothing to do with leverage and everything to do with managing the business more effectively and generating closer to peak potential revenues. Typically, that's when people are interested in buying businesses -- they think they can run them better. The Pirates can be run better than Nutting is running them. He's underutilizing their capacity and potential.

Also, vulture capitalists buy things in order to tear them apart and sell off the bits,


Some do. Not even close to all of them do. There's nothing inherently "vulturish" about buying a business and it's preposterous and juvenile to suggest otherwise.

Now please go away and troll somewhere else - the adults are talking.


Adults don't talk the way you're talking (*); that's a big part of why I interjected in the first place.

(*) Most adults who've experienced the world and know something about it don't see it in such shrill and reductionist terms and don't express themselves that way.
   251. Sunday silence Posted: January 14, 2020 at 06:26 PM (#5915779)

Well, ultimately, it didn't, which is why Luhnow and Hinch are out of jobs and Cora is about to be. For exactly the reason you say: a former Astro blew the whistle.


But KIko, I think you're missing his point, which I think is a good one:

HOw did it come down to this if there wasnt already a code of silence or something akin already in place? 1) why would a team even begin to go to these lengths knowing as Flournoy said that players are traded etc.? 2) WHy did it go this long without anyone calling attention to it? Is that odd? what does that tell you?
   252. Sunday silence Posted: January 14, 2020 at 06:29 PM (#5915780)
Most adults who've experienced the world and know something about it don't see it in such shrill and reductionist terms and don't express themselves that way.


that's rich.
   253. AndrewJ Posted: January 14, 2020 at 07:37 PM (#5915795)
   254. kwarren Posted: January 14, 2020 at 10:33 PM (#5915840)
WHy did it go this long without anyone calling attention to it? Is that odd? what does that tell you?


As the kids like to say, "everybody's doing it", which unfortunately has cost two of the best managers in baseball their careers. It also explains why Hinch couldn't realistically put a stop to it in Houston without putting his team at a huge competitive disadvantage.

Assuming the Astros stopped doing this after 2017, there seemed to be no negative impact at all on their hitters, so we really have to wonder how useful it was in the first place, especially since all the other teams knew they were doing it.

There is still an awful lot we don't know yet. Could be some good books coming out !!

The GM we lost, we can live with.
   255. Where have you gone Brady Anderson? Posted: January 15, 2020 at 08:57 AM (#5915881)
Seals are much tastier, though


So you’ve eaten investment banker? Does it taste like chicken?
   256. Rally Posted: January 15, 2020 at 09:07 AM (#5915884)
The Astros had a pair of identical twin hit men for enforcement.


The Canseco brothers needed a job.
   257. Mefisto Posted: January 15, 2020 at 10:43 AM (#5915946)
Only one of the Cansecos could hit.
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