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3 Ways Rob Manfred Can Make an Example Out of the Astros Following Sign-Stealing Scandal

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 19:  A Houston Astros hat and glove are seen on the field before Game Six of the League Championship Series against the New York Yankees at Minute Maid Park on October 19, 2019 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
League Championship Series - New York Yankees v Houston Astros - Game Six | Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Houston Astros had their sign-stealing plan that was simultaneously high-tech (using cameras to steal signs) and low tech (banging on a trash can to alert a hitter that a certain pitch was coming) snuffed out, and should expect a hefty penalty in the coming weeks once the MLB concludes its investigation. How Rob Manfred chooses to punish the Astros will reverberate through the decades, as it'll set a precedent for years to come.

Here are three punishments that Manfred can decree to embarrass the Astros.

3. Dock Them on the International Signing Market

HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 30:  Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros gets the force out against Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals during the ninth inning in Game Seven of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 30, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
World Series - Washington Nationals v Houston Astros - Game Seven | Elsa/Getty Images

The likes of Jose Altuve and Yuli Gurriel wouldn't be on the Astros if not for the international market, which is becoming more and more vital in building a dynasty with each passing year. The Astros have done well to pick up both prized stars and hoard diamonds in the rough, but a major fine that takes away money from the international pool could hamper Houston's prosperous farm system and MLB roster.

2. Take Away Draft Picks

HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 30:  Alex Bregman #2 of the Houston Astros throws out Anthony Rendon (not pictured) of the Washington Nationals during the first inning in Game Seven of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 30, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
World Series - Washington Nationals v Houston Astros - Game Seven | Elsa/Getty Images

The Astros built their championship team on the backs of some solid drafting, especially when they selected players like Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman right at the very top of their respective draft classes. Taking away some of Houston's coveted first-round picks will deal a major blow to their overall depth, as they could lack the pieces to sustain their title push for the foreseeable future.

1. Force Them to Fire Anyone Involved in the Scheme

HOUSTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 03: Former Houston Astro pitcher Nolan Ryan waves to the crowd along with Houston Astros owner Jim Crane and wife Whitney during the inaugural 2019 Houston Astros Hall of Fame at Minute Maid Park on August 03, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Seattle Mariners v Houston Astros | Bob Levey/Getty Images

This whole situation wasn't one or two team employees going rogue. This was a concerted, carefully calculated operation that helped the Astros win their first World Series. The front office was caught with their hand in the cookie jar, and allowing whoever thought up the idea or created the sign-stealing plan should be out of a job yesterday. It's cheating, plain and simple, and extremely brazen cheating at that.