Rob Manfred: MLB Won't Strip Astros, Red Sox World Series Titles

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 22, 2020

Baseball bats and gloves sit on the tarp with the new Houston Astros logo during batting practice before an exhibition baseball game against the Chicago Cubs Friday, March 29, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
Pat Sullivan/Associated Press

The stripping of victories and championships is a punishment used in college sports when teams are caught in cheating controversies, but the same will not happen in Major League Baseball.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred appeared on Fox Business on Wednesday and said the league will not strip the Houston Astros or Boston Red Sox of their World Series titles after sign-stealing scandals (h/t ESPN).

He said the league will honor the "long tradition in baseball of not trying to change what happened."

While they won't lose their 2017 crown, the Astros were certainly punished.

MLB stripped them of their first- and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 drafts, fined them the maximum $5 million and placed one-year suspensions on manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow.

Hinch and Luhnow were subsequently fired, as was Red Sox manager Alex Cora and New York Mets manager Carlos Beltran, for their roles in the scandal as members of the Houston organization.

As for Boston, Manfred said the league is still investigating the team and hasn't decided on punishment for the 2018 World Series champions.

"We haven't concluded our investigation with the Red Sox," Manfred said. "So it's a little hard to take the trophy away from somebody who hasn't yet been found to do something wrong. We don't know what the outcome of that's going to be."

Outside of investigations into electronic sign-stealing, a common thread linking the 2017 Astros and 2018 Red Sox is that they defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Fall Classic. ESPN noted the Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution asking the league to award both titles to the Dodgers.

Manfred said that will not happen because it is "absolutely unclear that the Dodgers would have been the World Series champion."

L.A. could have faced different American League opponents in the World Series were it not for sign-stealing, and the argument can be made that Houston and Boston could have still won their championships without cheating.