The Houston Astros had some harsh penalties handed down to them as a result of the MLB's investigation into the team's sign-stealing scandal. In addition to $5 million in fines and forfeiting their first- and second-round picks in 2020 and 2021, Astros manager AJ Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow were issued one-year suspensions.
Well, while addressing the media in the aftermath of the MLB's ruling, Astros owner Jim Crane dropped the hammer on Hinch and Luhnow himself, announcing the pair had been dismissed by the organization.
Boom. Fired. Just like that.
Crane recognized that while neither Hinch nor Luhnow were responsible for the formulation of the sign-stealing schme, they were aware of it occurring and failed to put an end to it. He said the Astros would not appeal the league's punishments, and accept responsibility for what occurred as an organization.
In Hinch's stead, Joe Espada has been named as the Astros' interim manager, and intends to serve at the helm for the 2020 season. Crane announced he himself will oversee baseball operations, and suggested the team will be likely identify a new general manager internally in due time.
As Jeff Passan suggests, recently-promoted assistant GM Pete Putila is a viable candidate to succeed Luhnow in the top front office role.
With the Astros' punishments being quite severe, fans are now eagerly awaiting the judgement handed down upon Red Sox manager Alex Cora. As Luhnow and Hinch can both certainly attest to, Cora is likely in line for some harsh discipline -- and not simply from the league itself.