02/19 00:04 CST Player discipline possible for future sign-stealing offenses
Player discipline possible for future sign-stealing offenses
By JAKE SEINER
AP Sports Writer
Major league players could be punished for future sign-stealing violations in
the wake of the Houston Astros' scandal that only resulted in discipline for
managers, coaches and executives.
Commissioner Rob Manfred and union head Tony Clark both said Tuesday that MLB
and the players' association are discussing potential rules changes regarding
sign stealing and technology.
"Written proposals have been exchanged, and we have made it clear to MLB that
no issue is off the table, including player discipline," Clark said in a
Houston manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were banned for one
season by Manfred and subsequently fired by the team last month after MLB
released the findings of its investigation into the Astros. Former bench coach
Alex Cora is expected to be disciplined when baseball announces the results of
its probe into the Boston Red Sox, who cut ties with Cora as manager due to his
involvement with Houston's illegal sign stealing in 2017 and 2018.
Carlos Beltrn, the only Astros player mentioned in the MLB report, was not
disciplined by the league but was let go in his new role as New York Mets
No players were punished by MLB, and opponents from other teams have expressed
dismay over that fact since spring training opened last week. Many have also
called for Manfred to strip Houston of its 2017 World Series title.
Manfred said he's never seen so much "commentary from players about other
The commissioner said Tuesday that MLB reached out to the union seeking player
cooperation in the probe after initial investigation efforts were unsuccessful.
Manfred said the union asked for player immunity in exchange for that
cooperation, and Manfred agreed "because we were at a bit of a stalemate," he
Responding to Manfred's comments Tuesday, Clark said MLB contacted the union to
inform it of the investigation on Nov. 13, the day after The Athletic published
an article detailing Houston's scheme. Clark said the players' association and
MLB agreed on player immunity later that day.
"Any suggestion that the association failed to cooperate with the
commissioner's investigation, obstructed the investigation, or otherwise took
positions which led to a stalemate in the investigation is completely untrue,"
Clark said. "We acted to protect the rights of our members, as is our
obligation under the law."
Clark said Astros players were never informed of MLB rules regarding
technology-aided sign stealing and noted the commissioner had said after past
sign-stealing transgressions years before that club personnel --- and not
players --- would be held responsible for future violations.
He added that among the items now being discussed with the league are
"potential rule changes affecting sign stealing, in-game technology and video,
data access and usage, club audits and disclosures, player education, and
enforcement --- including the potential for player discipline."
AP Baseball Writer Stephen Hawkins in Scottsdale, Arizona, contributed.
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