Athletics Filed Complaint on Astros' Cheating to MLB Before Mike Fiers' Comments

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2020

Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin smiles in the dugout during the third inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

The Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal first became public knowledge when pitcher Mike Fiers was among those who revealed the practice when speaking to Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic in November.Β 

However, Fiers' current team, the Oakland Athletics, filed a complaint about Houston to Major League Baseball prior to the story going public.

Manager Bob Melvin and general manager David Frost both told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (h/t ESPN.com) the team did as much, but the former admitted it was hard for the league to do anything at the time.

"MLB does a great job of monitoring these things, but it's very difficult if a team calls in and complains about something, they can only do so much," Melvin said. "It took a player and a player who was on that team to put it over the top. And I think MLB is handling it very well right now."

Fiers has been with Oakland since the 2018 season but pitched in Houston from 2015-17.

While some, including ESPN broadcaster Jessica Mendoza, criticized him for going to the press, his manager had his back.

"I'm glad we're at this point right now, and obviously Mike had a lot to do with that," Melvin said Wednesday. "The game's better for it from this point going forward. I think it's all about moving past right now and getting through a lot of the issues that you saw. It's supposed to be an equal playing field, and it wasn't."

MLB ultimately fined the Astros $5 million, stripped them of their first- and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021 and suspended then-general manager Jeff Luhnow and then-manager AJ Hinch for one year. Both were later fired.

The fallout went beyond Houston, as the Boston Red Sox parted ways with manager Alex Cora for his role in the scandal when he was the bench coach of the Astros. The New York Mets did the same with manager Carlos Beltran, who played for the Astros during their championship run in 2017 and was the only player to be named in the MLB report.

For his part, Fiers did not want to focus on the sign-stealing scandal and instead was looking ahead to the upcoming season.

"Right now I want to focus on this team and not the past," he said.