Jeff Luhnow, AJ Hinch Comment After Being Fired in Astros' Sign-Stealing Scandal

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 13, 2020

Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch, left, and general manager Jeff Luhnow, right, before Game 2 of a best-of-five American League Division Series baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays in Houston, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

Former Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow will likely forever be tied to the team's sign-stealing controversy, but he insisted he is not a cheater.

Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle shared Luhnow's statement in which he accepted responsibility for the violations that occurred under him but clarified: "I am not a cheater. Anybody who has worked closely with me during my 32-year career inside and outside baseball can attest to my integrity. I did not know rules were being broken."

Chandler Rome @Chandler_Rome

Via an attorney, Jeff Luhnow released this statement https://t.co/ZNbKzb6EBI

Former manager AJ Hinch also released a statement that was not as brazen but said, "while the evidence consistently showed I didn't endorse or participate in the sign stealing practices, I failed to stop them and I am deeply sorry."

Brian McTaggart @brianmctaggart

Former Astros manager AJ Hinch has released a statement: https://t.co/tfjwlYoAaZ

ESPN's Jeff Passan reported Luhnow and Hinch were both suspended for one year as part of the punishments levied against the Astros. The team was also fined $5 million and stripped of its first- and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021. 

Jake Kaplan of The Athletic reported Astros owner Jim Crane elected to fire Hinch and Luhnow in the aftermath of the punishments.

Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic reported on the Astros' sign stealing in November. Four people who were with the team during the 2017 championship campaign, including pitcher Mike Fiers, said the American League West club used a camera positioned in the outfield as a way of stealing opponents' signs in real time.

Gabe Lacques of USA Today noted the league interviewed 68 witnesses and also sent out memos in 2017, 2018 and 2019 warning against electronic sign stealing and saying general managers and managers would be held most accountable.

That set the stage for the suspensions of Luhnow and Hinch.

One part of Luhnow's statement that jumps out is where he said "the video decoding of signs originated and was executed by lower-level employees working with the bench coach." Houston's bench coach in 2017 was current Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora, and Passan reported his punishment was "coming" and "going to be harsh."

Rosenthal and Drellich also reported the 2018 Red Sox used technology to help steal opponents' signs on their way to a World Series title.

Luhnow became the Astros' general manager in 2011, while Hinch was the manager since the 2015 campaign.