Report: MLB Investigation into Astros' Sign-Stealing Unlikely to Finish in 2019

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistDecember 11, 2019

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 30:  A general view of the stadium before Game Seven of the 2019 World Series between the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals at Minute Maid Park on October 30, 2019 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Tim Warner/Getty Images

Major League Baseball's investigation into the Houston Astros' alleged sign-stealing scheme is not expected to be completed by the end of 2019, according to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich.

Rosenthal and Drellich noted the league office has more than 70,000 emails to sort through. Commissioner Rob Manfred called it "the most thorough investigation the commissioner’s office has ever undertaken," per The Athletic's Jayson Stark:

Jayson Stark @jaysonst

Manfred calls the Astros probe “the most thorough investigation the commissioner’s office has ever undertaken.” Nearly 60 witness interviews. 76,000 emails. But said it’s impossible to predict how long it’s going to take. More interviews need to be scheduled.

Though teams had previously accused the Astros of misconduct, it was not until Rosenthal and Drellich published a report on Nov. 12 that alleged Houston stole opponents' signs during games at Minute Maid Park during their 2017 championship run. Mike Fiers, who pitched for the Astros from 2015 to 2017, said the team used cameras in the outfield to steal signs electronically.

Rosenthal and Drellich later reported that a Houston executive—later identified as Kevin Goldstein, a special assistant to general manager Jeff Luhnow, by ESPN's Jeff Passan—suggested in an email that scouts use cameras and binoculars to steal signs from opposing teams.

Manfred made it clear last month that the league is going to do its due diligence before reaching a conclusion.

"Any allegation that relates to a rule violation that could affect the outcome of a game or games is the most serious matter," Manfred told reporters in November. "We have a very active, what is going to be a really, really thorough investigation ongoing."

After having called the New York Yankees' accusations "a joke" in October, Houston manager A.J. Hinch declined to get into the matter at the 2019 Winter Meetings this week:


A.J. Hinch has no comment regarding the ongoing investigation on the Astros' sign-stealing: "I'm going to keep what I think to myself until I'm ready to comment on it" https://t.co/86yW4H56WD

It's not clear where Manfred and Co. are in the process of the investigation, but Rosenthal and Drellich pointed out "too much needs to happen" for the league to announce its findings by Christmas, which was a rumored timetable. As a result, the baseball world may have to wait until 2020 to find out about any potential discipline the Astros face.