Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred addressed the ongoing investigation of the Astros organization at this week’s owner’s meetings, ESPN’s Jeff Passan writes. The league began looking into the Astros on the heels of a report from The Athletic wherein four former employees, including right-hander Mike Fiers, detailed a practice in which the Astros utilized center-field cameras to steal pitch signs and alert the hitter to what pitch was about to be thrown.
“I’m not going to speculate on whether other people are going to be involved,” Manfred told reporters today. “We’ll deal with that if it happens, but I’m not going to speculate about that. I have no reason to believe it extends beyond the Astros at this point in time.”
In the past, both the Cardinals and Braves have been sanctioned under Manfred. The Cards were hit with a $2MM fine and lost their two highest draft picks when former scouting director Chris Correa illegally accessed the Astros’ proprietary database. The Braves were barred from signing international players for multiple signing periods and stripped of 12 prospects they’d signed after extensive violations of the league’s international signing rules were discovered.
Manfred declined to speculate as to the potential punitive measures that would be levied against the Astros organization, instead stating that any discipline will be dependent on “how the facts are established at the end of the investigation.” The commissioner wouldn’t rule out a repeat of those prior sanctions — loss of draft picks and international free agency restrictions — but also was sure to specify that his authority allowed a “broader” range of potential disciplinary measures. There’s no active timeline for the investigation to wrap up.
“Any allegations that relate to a rule violation that could affect the outcome of a game or games is the most serious matter,” Manfred said Tuesday. “It relates to the integrity of the sport.”