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Houston Astros cheating punishment expected soon

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Jeff Passan says that MLB is close to levying penalties against the Houston Astros for cheating

JAPAN-SOCIETY-FOOD-ANIMAL-TSUKIJI Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images

The Houston Astros will see their punishment for using video technology to cheat by relaying signs handed down in “the next two weeks,” according to Jeff Passan. Passan says that off-field personnel, rather than players, will be the subject of punishment, and specifically names Astros g.m. Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch, and Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora (who was a coach on the Astros staff in 2017), to be potential targets of suspensions.

This came to light when pitcher Mike Fiers said on the record in November that the Astros were using video technology to steal signs and relay the information to hitters. Reports since then have indicated that Astros personnel have admitted to the behavior, but claim it is no different than what other teams were doing.

Since it was reported that the Astros were banging a trash can to signal to the hitter what pitch was coming, folks have pulled video from games where you can see the catcher flash a sign, and then hear a banging noise matching up to what kind of pitch was called. Over at Baseball Prospectus, Robert Arthur dived into the data and discovered you can identify the exact date — both using noise data and changes in swing patterns by Astros hitters — when they started using that method.