Diamond reported that was one reason MLB granted immunity to players who were forthright during the league's investigation into the team. The Major League Baseball Players Association would have had compelling grounds to appeal any punishments levied against Astros players:
Jared Diamond @jareddiamond
One reason why MLB agreed to grant immunity to players in the sign-stealing investigation: The league thought it would lose grievance hearings, in part because the Astros' management never passed on Rob Manfred's 2017 sign-stealing memo to players. https://t.co/mSC8X1UVgs https://t.co/1Y4g1xtvP3
Manfred issued a statement in September 2017 admonishing the Boston Red Sox for using Apple Watches to steal signs from the New York Yankees. Along with that public statement, he sent a private memo to all 30 teams reiterating the league's stance.
Manfred referenced the memo in his nine-page statement detailing how Houston had set up a replay room in which team personnel attempted to decode the signs from opposing teams.
"Thus, all Clubs were put on notice as of September 15, 2017, that any use of electronic equipment to steal signs would be dealt with more severely by my office," he wrote.
Despite the directive, the Astros continued to use their replay room for the remainder of the 2017 season and playoffs.
General manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch are the only people who have received punishments from MLB as a result of the scandal. Manfred suspended them for one year, and both men were subsequently fired by the team.
The Red Sox remain under investigation after The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich reported they created a sign-stealing scheme under Cora's watch in 2018.
Although Astros players have avoided any official consequences, team owner Jim Crane told reporters Tuesday they will issue an apology during spring training.