Not only are Jeff Luhnow and AJ Hinch suspended for the upcoming MLB season as part of their punishment for the Houston Astros’ cheating scandal, but the two have also lost their jobs.
Astros owner Jim Crane announced on Monday that both Luhnow and Hinch have been fired.
The timing of the firings is another sign of how misplaced the ethics are within the Astros’ organization.
Owner Jim Crane knew that his team cheated and violated rules with its sign stealing. He knew that Hinch oversaw the team when the sign-stealing occurred and that Luhnow failed to stop anything, despite warnings from MLB. He knows that what Luhnow and Hinch allowed was wrong. You don’t need a statement from MLB, much less formal punishments, to tell you that. If he wanted to send the message that the organization cares about creating a compliant culture, he would have fired the two men long ago.
So why did he wait until after the punishments were announced before firing the two men?
The punishments included season-long bans for Hinch and Luhnow, rendering them useless to Crane for the upcoming season. Only after this was determined did Crane conclude it was the right time to get rid of the men. Had the suspensions not occurred, would they still be working for the Astros? It’s hard to figure otherwise.
This a clear sign that Crane cares more about results than creating a team culture of following the rules. The Astros are even reportedly planning to make their bench coach the interim manager rather than bring in somebody new.
Source: Joe Espada expected to be named interim manager of the Astros during Hinch’s suspension. Espada has been Houston’s bench coach since the start of 2018.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) January 13, 2020
Whatever information MLB discovered about Luhnow's and Hinch’s roles could have easily been discovered by Crane by asking them what they knew and told MLB. Crane didn’t need to wait for MLB’s punishment before taking action, but he did, showing where his priorities lie.