MLB Insider Explains Why League Couldn't Punish Astros Players in Sign-Stealing Scandal

Yuli Gurriel, Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve
The Astros players are likely to escape punishment for stealing signs | Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Houston Astros were handed some steep penalties after the organization confessed to stealing signs in 2017 and portions of 2018, but not a single player was given even one game off for their blatant cheating.

While players and fans alike want to see the ringleaders of this scandal punished, The Athletic's Evan Drellich outlined why it would be nearly impossible for Rob Manfred, Joe Torre, and the league as a whole to start handing out suspensions left and right to its athletes.

Drellich cites the Players Association, the union obliged by federal law to fight on behalf of their workers, as the main reason why Manfred didn't punish any players individually.

Because the cheating was so widespread, and there is still no clear answer as it pertains to how often each player gained an advantage from cheating, it makes it really hard to fairly levy any sort of major suspension on individual participants. You also can't suspend the entire team, so Manfred's hands were tied here, unless he wanted to get into a major scuffle with the union that could end in embarrassment.

The likes of Mike Trout and Cody Bellinger have made very angry public statements condemning the Astros, and included some very legitimate points, but any suspension Manfred handed down would have been fought until the very last breath by the union, and it seems like the league just wants to make this scandal go away as quickly as possible.