clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

MLB teams unhappy Houston Astros not punished, per report

New, comments

Jeff Passan writes that MLB’s refusal to sanction the Houston Astros over alleged spying has upset the rest of the league

League Championship Series - Boston Red Sox v Houston Astros - Game Four Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Houston Astros spying on the Boston Red Sox in the American League Championship Series? We had a certain amount of drama erupt yesterday, when it was reported that the Red Sox complained about an Astros employee who was hanging out in a media area near the Boston dugout in Game 1, with the Red Sox being concerned he was spying on them and reporting signs and the like back to Houston personnel. MLB came out yesterday and essentially cleared the Astros of wrongdoing, but Jeff Passan says that this has created unhappiness among other teams, who feel that Houston broke the rules and is being allowed to get away with it.

It is not disputed that the Astros had Kyle McLaughlin — who Passan describes as “a kid in his early 20s whose role with the team is opaque” — to monitor the dugout of the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS, and then the BoSox at the start of the ALCS. Jeff Luhnow says that this was done because they were concerned Cleveland, and then Boston, was cheating, and they wanted to try to stop them. MLB appears to have accepted that, which Passan says has resulted in complaints from the rest of the teams.

I’d encourage you to read all of Passan’s story on this, which explains the situation in more detail and goes into at least one other allegation of the Astros cheating earlier this year. Complicating the situation is that the Astros don’t appear to be popular with many people around the game, with those who are anti-Astros appearing to feel that they don’t treat individuals properly and are too willing to push the envelope on what is allowable, and the Astros themselves seemingly dismissing the complaints as jealousy.

The increased use and capability of video and electronic communications appears to have MLB somewhat on their heels in regards to taking action to limit sign stealing and the like. This controversy is also while MLB is dealing with its attempt to clean up cheating in international free agency, with the Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves each being sanctioned in recent years for breaking the rules in Latin American signings, and the Dodgers being implicated in an ongoing federal investigation into corruption in Latin American baseball dealings. Similarly, MLB suspended San Diego Padres general manager A.J. Preller for not divulging full medical information regarding pitcher Drew Pomeranz to the Boston Red Sox before consummating a trade that sent Pomeranz to the Red Sox in 2016.

There appears to be a mindset among many teams now that it isn’t cheating if you don’t get caught, and given the stakes involved, teams appear to have decided that the rewards involved in breaking the rules, in a host of areas, are worth the potential risk. MLB is going to have to decide if it is going to turn a blind eye to these issues — as it had for years in Latin American free agency until recently — or if it is going to put together an enforceable set of rules, and be willing to bring down the hammer on teams that don’t follow them.