Yankees' Brian Cashman: Cheating Comments by Astros' Jim Crane Were 'Deflection'

Erin WalshMay 13, 2022

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 08: New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman speaks to the media prior to the start of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on April 08, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman called out Houston Astros owner Jim Crane before Thursday's game against the Chicago White Sox for comparing the Pinstripes' $100,000 fine for using their dugout phone to relay signs in 2015 and '16 to Houston's major 2017 sign-stealing scandal that resulted in a World Series title. 

"I don't think anybody's going to dance to the tune he's singing," Cashman said, according to ESPN's Marly Rivera. "I'd say it's called deflection, him trying to equate probably ... an equivalent of a parking ticket to maybe 162 felonies."

Earlier this week, Crane called out Cashman for mentioning the Astros' sign-stealing scandal as one of the reasons the Yankees have not won a championship since 2009. Houston eliminated New York in Game 7 of the 2017 ALCS to reach the World Series.

All of the Yankees' losses in that series were on the road at Minute Maid Park, where the Astros used trash can banging as a way to relay signs. 

“I found his comments to be extremely strange,’’ Crane told USA Today's Bob Nightengale. “There’s the letter, and you were doing it, too. You were there dude. What are you talking about? If I was one of the teams, and I knew our team was doing it [cheating], I’d keep my mouth shut and just go about our business. But listen, I can only control what’s going on here. I can’t control what the other guys do.’’

A letter MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred sent to the Yankees in 2017 became public last month. The letter revealed that an investigation found the Bronx Bombers guilty of stealing signs in 2015 and parts of 2016 by using the dugout phone and video replay room to decode and communicate signs. 

Cashman's comments about the Astros sign-stealing scandal came during spring training, before Manfred's letter was made public. He told The Athletic's Andy McCullough that the only thing that stopped the Yankees from winning the World Series "was something that was so illegal and horrific."

He added: "So I get offended when I start hearing we haven't been to the World Series since '09. Because I'm like, 'Well, I think we actually did it the right way.' Pulled it down, brought it back up. Drafted well, traded well, developed well, signed well. The only thing that derailed us was a cheating circumstance that threw us off."

While the Yankees were fined only $100,000, the Astros received a much harsher punishment for banging on trash cans to relay signs in 2017. Houston was fined $5 million and forced to forfeit its first- and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021. In addition, former manager AJ Hinch and former general manager Jeff Luhnow were suspended for one year.