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Justin Turner Rips Rob Manfred over Astros Scandal: 'He Set a Weak Precedent'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 17, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 07: Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers takes batting practice before Game Four of the National League Divisional Series against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on October 7, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Los Angeles Dodgers star Justin Turner joined the growing number of voices critical of how MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred handled the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal.

In an interview with ESPN's Karl Ravech, Manfred said the league had considered stripping the Astros of their World Series title. Since such an extreme step had never been made, he and other MLB officials worried about how it could set a precedent.

Turner argued the commissioner's rulings still set an example all the same, per the Orange County Register's Bill Plunkett:

"Listening to the commissioner's interview yesterday talking about precedent, talking about there's never been a precedent—that's because it's never happened before. It's the first time in the game, to my knowledge, that this happened and he just set the precedent.

"He set a weak precedent. So now anyone who goes forward and cheats to win a World Series they can live with themselves knowing that, 'Oh, it's okay. We'll cheat to win a World Series and bring the title back to LA and screw Dave Roberts and screw Andrew (Friedman) it's just those guys losing their job. I still get to be called a champion the rest of my life.' The precedent was set by him in this case and it was, as Cody said, a pretty weak precedent."

MLB suspended Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch for one season for their roles in the scandal. Houston was also fined $5 million and had to forfeit its draft picks in the first and second round for the next two years.

However, the league granted immunity to any players who went on the record during the investigation.

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

That in turn has raised the belief the franchise got off a bit easy.

Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Yu Darvish, who was on the losing end in the 2017 World Series, told reporters he thought MLB should formally take the title away from the Astros. Los Angeles Dodgers star Cody Bellinger said Jose Altuve "stole an MVP" from New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge.

Altuve was the American League Most Valuable Player in 2017, soundly defeating Judge in the voting.

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Trevor Bauer provided a candid interview to The Athletic's C. Trent Rosecrans and also had a viral video laying out his general grievances with Manfred.

The start of the regular season could lead to some of the controversy dying down, since there will be meaningful games to talk about.

But first-year Astros manager Dusty Baker has already expressed concern about potential retaliation toward his players from opposing teams. Turner's comments speak to a level of frustration that will continue to linger for the foreseeable future.

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