HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 05: Manager AJ Hinch #14 talks with Jeff Luhnow, General Manager of the Houston Astros, prior to game two of the American League Division Series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Minute Maid Park on October 05, 2019 in Houston, Texas.
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Former Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow further denied his role in the team’s sign-stealing controversy in a recent interview.

Josh Benjamin

Disgraced former Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow continues to deny his role in the controversial sign-stealing scandal that rocked baseball last winter.

In an interview with Houston TV station KPRC, Luhnow again denied knowing anything about the Astros players cheating to win games in 2017 and 2018. Furthermore, Luhnow claimed people involved in the scandal are still employed by the Astros. Additionally, he claimed he received access to 22,000 text messages from “personnel in the video room” that exonerate him:

“It’s pretty clear who was involved in the video-decoding scheme, when it started, how often it happened and basically when it ended. And it’s also pretty clear who was not involved,” Luhnow said. “And I don’t know why that information, that evidence, wasn’t discussed in the ruling, wasn’t used. The people who were involved that didn’t leave naturally to go to other teams are all still employed by the Astros.

“In fact, one of the people who was intimately involved, I had demoted from a position in the clubhouse to a position somewhere else, and after I was fired, he was promoted back into the clubhouse. So none of those people faced any repercussions. They weren’t discussed in the report, but the evidence is all there that they were involved.”

JB’s Take

Just when we thought we were done talking about the Astros, Jeff Luhnow makes it a topic of conversation again. What’s funny is the timing of his comments makes sense. Both he and manager A.J. Hinch were fired over the scandal and were suspended from MLB this season. Those suspensions are up at the conclusion of the World Series, which begins on Tuesday.

Also, let’s backtrack on the Astros scandal a bit. Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic reported though players and coaches were involved, the cheating had the blessing of the front office. After punishments were handed down with no player suspensions, it became pretty clear. Astros players sold out the front office and coaching staff to save their own hides.

And MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is already wise to Luhnow’s complaint. Appearing on ESPN Radio, he pointed out the 22,000 messages Luhnow mentioned are just the tip of the iceberg and that the disgraced GM was implicated in other texts. Manfred also looked back to the Boston Red Sox’s Apple Watch incident in 2017, and that all GMs received the same memo. Electronic cheating was and still is a major no-no.

All in all, it’s clear what Jeff Luhnow is doing. His suspension is almost up and he’s thinking about his future in baseball. He did a good job rebuilding Houston from the ground up after being hired in 2011, so some teams may be interested.

However, Luhnow still let unacceptable cheating happen under his watch. Even if it was just his deputies who were the most guilty, the buck stops with him. He’s just as responsible for what happened along with those who took part in the cheating. Until he owns that, he won’t be back in baseball anytime soon.

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