Former Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow has said he didn't know about the team's cheating in 2017, but people with knowledge of MLB's investigation said "there was direct testimony that Luhnow was aware of the sign-stealing scheme," according to Evan Drellich of The Athletic.
Lunhow has repeatedly denied any knowledge, including during an interview with Click 2 Houston published Monday:
"The investigation interviewed dozens and dozens of people; players, video staff members, coaches, etc. None of them said that I knew. The absence of any facts regarding me speak very loudly. I mean, they went through years and years of emails and texts, voicemails, messages, and documents, and there’s nothing in there that suggests that I knew. And if I were involved, there would be something somewhere. And it just didn’t exist."
The MLB investigation found the Astros used illegal technology to steal signs from opposing teams and signaled pitches to players on the field, leading to a one-year suspension for Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch. Both were fired by the Astros shortly after the ruling.
MLB's report noted that "there is both documentary and testimonial evidence that indicates Luhnow had some knowledge of those efforts, but he did not give it much attention."
The source told Drellich that Luhnow claimed during the investigation that he didn't fully read emails discussing the sign-stealing, although he responded to them.
"One witness clearly stated and provided evidence that Luhnow knew, and others identified facts indicating that Luhnow knew," the source added. "The best interpretation of the evidence is that Luhnow either knew exactly what the video room was doing, or knew generally what they were doing and willfully chose to keep himself in the dark."
Commissioner Rob Manfred also indicated Luhnow knew about the issue.
"There was a lot of other evidence—electronic, testimonial—which indicated Jeff's culpability in this matter," Manfred told ESPN Radio's Keyshawn, JWill, & Zubin Tuesday.
The commissioner also indicated Luhnow was responsible as the team's leader regardless of whether he had any direct knowledge of the scheme.
Hinch has admitted to knowledge of the scandal while it was happening and said he disagreed with the practice, although he didn't stop it.