By Sam Bush
The Astros’ sign-stealing scandal has been the dominant story in baseball over the past several weeks, although it didn’t come as a revelation to many throughout the game. A scout from another team told Barry Svrluga and Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post:
“It was a big open secret, really big. Throughout baseball, throughout the scouting community, for several years, not just starting in 2017. I would say probably 2016, maybe earlier, through , things were going on that were blatantly against the rules.”
If true, it further calls into question the Astros’ accomplishments in recent years. They amassed 100-plus victories in each of the past three campaigns, won the World Series in 2017 and took home the American League pennant a season ago. GM Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch were suspended for a year apiece last month and lost their jobs as a result of their complicity in stealing signs during the Astros’ title-winning season. Luhnow, it seems, was a key part of a scheme called “Codebreaker” that Houston used from 2017-18.
It’s possible neither Luhnow nor Hinch will work in the majors again as a result of their wrongdoing. That would’ve sounded ridiculous last fall when the Astros were the toast of the AL and vying for a World Series against the Nationals. The Nats upended the Astros in seven games, but Washington entered the Fall Classic wary of Houston’s shenanigans.
“It was amazing, once [it was assured] we were playing the Astros, how many people were coming out of the woodwork to let us know what they were doing,” one member of the Nationals told Svrluga and Sheinin.