MLB hit king Pete Rose, who was banned from baseball for life after betting on games, said he couldn't imagine taking part in a scheme like the one put together by the Houston Astros, which led to year-long suspensions for general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch, both of whom were fired on Monday.
Rose told Randy Miller of NJ Advance Media he doesn't understand why players involved in the scandal—former Astros outfielder and new New York Mets manager Carlos Beltran is the only one specifically named in the report—weren't punished by the league.
"What's going to happen to Beltran?" Rose asked. "Can he manage the Mets now? He was a ringleader, right? This whole thing...it's getting technical. I just can't imagine how many people are really involved. I can't imagine doing something like that."
The longtime Cincinnati Reds superstar said not taking action against the players who relayed and accepted the signs could set a poor precedent.
"Most players don't give a damn about what happens to an organization as long as it doesn't happen to them," Rose said. "If I'm a player and every time I bat I'm getting the signs from the dugout, I'm just as guilty as the guy who is giving me the signs."
Both Luhnow and Hinch released statements Monday stating they weren't directly involved in the 2017 sign-stealing practices.
Luhnow, the Astros GM since December 2011, placed the blame on the players and "lower-level" club personnel:
"As the commissioner set out in his statement, I did not personally direct, oversee or engage in any misconduct: The sign-stealing initiative was not planned or directed by baseball management; the trash-can banging was driven and executed by players, and the video decoding of signs originated and was executed by lower-level employees working with the bench coach. I am deeply upset that I wasn't informed of any misconduct because I would have stopped it."
Hinch, who managed the Astros for five seasons, added: "As a leader and Major League manager, it is my responsibility to lead players and staff with integrity that represents the game in the best possible way. 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."
Meanwhile, it was a player, former Houston starting pitcher Mike Fiers, who came forward with information about the sign-stealing system to Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic in November, which led to the MLB investigation and subsequent punishments.
"That's not playing the game the right way," Fiers said. "They were advanced and willing to go above and beyond to win."
In turn, Rose isn't sure the league's course of punishment went down the right path, per Miller.
"But what about the players who were behind this and taking the knowledge? Should they get off scot-free?" the 78-year-old questioned. "Don't you have to do something to the players who were accepting the stolen signs? Nothing's been done. Is that fair?"
Meanwhile, MLB launched a similar investigation against the Boston Red Sox last week based on details of an alleged 2018 sign-stealing effort. Alex Cora, the Astros' bench coach in 2017 and the Red Sox's manager since 2018, could face serious punishment for his role in both scandals.