Houston Astros: Rob Manfred’s latest comments won’t change stance

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred on the Houston Astros (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred on the Houston Astros (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /

The Houston Astros continue to get hammered in the media for their role in their sign-stealing scandal. Rob Manfred has spoken but his stance won’t change.

The Houston Astros are just days from beginning their Spring Training season with the opener of the Grapefruit League play this Saturday, Feb. 22.   It’s time for us to start talking about the roster battles, how this team will remain competitive in the AL West as well as the weaknesses that the team needs to address before the start of the season.

Yes, there are certainly a few holes on the pitching front — like lefties depth — but the positional player’s rotation is pretty much set for this season and beyond as well.  Most of those guys like Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman are on long-term deals.  George Springer will definitely be the hot topic come next offseason as he’s a free agent but there’s no question that this won’t be able to get a deal done for him before it gets to that point.

Carlos Correa, Yuli Gurriel and Michael Brantley will be around for a just a bit longer but a decision will need to be made with him within the next season or two.

With all of that considered, there should be plenty of optimism that this will be successful this season but there’s just one problem.

Yep, you know where I’m going with this.  The Houston Astros are caught up in a steamy sign-stealing scandal that has rocked the baseball world.  They’ve taken a beating from the court of public opinion and it’s understandable that people are upset about this.

Many are questioning the Houston Astros ability to win the World Series had the sign-stealing not existed.  That’s a disappointing thought and it’s a head-scratcher as to why they had to do it with them being one of the most talented teams in the MLB.

Since the MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred published the results of the investigation that wrapped up in January, Jeff Luhnow and AJ Hinch have been fired, the team has been fined $5 million which is the maximum allowable amount and the team has lost their early-round draft picks for this season and the next.

Many would say that those penalties are enough for this organization.  But players like Mike Trout, Aaron Judge, Cody Bellinger and Mike Clevinger are speaking out and it’s obvious they want more, particularly for the players to receive punishment for their role in the scandal.

Manfred did address those concerns just a few days ago and his reasoning is that it would’ve been

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difficult to dole out punishment from the players because the MLB Player’s Association would’ve been handling grievances left and right and he likely would’ve been on the losing end of those.

The Association has since released a statement backing up their actions and indicating that their best interest is continuing to fight for the rights of the players.

Based on what we know, there’s no way that Manfred will backtrack or revisit the stance that he’s taken as far the hammer that he’s already dropped on the Houston Astros.  It’s definitely what many want to happen but it’s a complicated matter when it comes to legality concerns with the current Collective Bargaining Agreement.

With that being said, the Houston Astros will be facing an unimaginable battle with every one of those 162 games that they’ll partake in this season.  I just worry that our players are going to be the victims of pitchers taking justice into their own hands and try to cause harm (i.e. plunking them during any given at-bats) but we’ll see how that turns out.

Manfred was vague on how he’d handle that and it appears he’s just going to let things run its course while the Houston Astros are out to defend themselves.

It’s a shame we’ve got to this but here we are.

Let’s hope for the best as we meander into 2020.

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What do you think about Commissioner Manfred’s stance?  Feel free to sound off in the comments section below.