Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow, who was fired Monday, issued the following statement in the wake of the video scandal that has engulfed the Astros. In it, he takes a shot at Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who was the bench coach with Houston when the incidents allegedly occurred.
Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch were suspended for the 2020 season by Commissioner Rob Manfred on Monday. Shortly after, the Astros announced that both men had been fired.
“Neither one of them started this, but neither one of them did anything about it,” said Astros owner Jim Crane. “We need to move forward with a clean slate.”
The team was also fined $5 million and will forfeit its first- and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021.
“I accept responsibility for rules violations that occurred on my watch as President of Baseball Operations and General Manager of the Astros,” Luhnow said in his statement. “I apologize to the Astros organization, Astros fans and the Houston community for the shame and embarassment this has caused. I am deeply grateful to Jim Crane for the opportunity to lead baseball operations.
“I am not a cheater. Anybody who has worked closely with me during my 32-year career inside and outside baseball can attest to my integrity. I did not know rules were being broken. As the Commissioner set out in his statement, I did not personally direct, oversee or engage in any kind of misconduct: The sign-stealing initiative was not planned or directed by baseball management; the trash-can banging was driven and executed by players, and the video decoding of signs originated and was executed by lower-level employees working with the bench coach. I am deeply upset that I wasn’t informed of any misconduct because I would have stopped it.
“I agree with Mr. Crane that our baseball operations team has achieved far more positives beyond this signifiant negative. Many very good people have worked, and continue to work, for the Astros organization. I am extremely proud of the many executives throughout the industry who were trained and promoted in our department.”
Hinch also released a statement through the team.
“I appreciate Commissioner Manfred’s unwavering commitment to upholding the best interests of baseball. I regret being connected to these events, am disappointed in our club’s actions within this timeline, and I accept the Comissioner’s decision.
“As a leader and Major League manager, it is my responsibility to lead players and staff with integrity that represents the game in the best possible way. While the evidence consistently showed I didn’t endorse or participate in the sign stealing practices, I failed to stop them and I am deeply sorry.
“I apologize to Mr. Crane for all negative reflections this may have had on him and the Astros organization. My time in Houston has provided some of the greatest moments in my career and those memories will always be near and dear to me and my family. I regret that my time with the Astros has ended, but will always be a supporter of the club, players, and staff I’ve had the privilege of working alongside. I wish them the best in the future of the game I love.
“To the fans, thank you for your continued support through this challenging time — and for this team. I apologize to all of you for our mistakes but I’m confident we will learn from it — and I personally commit to work tirelessly to ensure I do.