Astros owner Jim Crane says MLB ‘exonerated’ him in sign-stealing investigation

Astros owner Jim Crane claims MLB’s investigation into the team’s sign-stealing “explicitly exonerated” him. Crane made the claim in a legal filing in response to a lawsuit brought by former MLB pitcher Mike Bolsinger against Crane and the team. Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic reports that Crane’s filing is an attempt to avoid being deposed and either dismiss the case outright or move it to Texas from California.

Per Kaplan, the relevant part of Crane’s filing reads: “I was not involved in any alleged rules violations by the Astros. Major League Baseball conducted an investigation into potential rules violations by the Astros. That report explicitly exonerated me and stated that I was unaware of and had no involvement in any rules violations by the Astros.”

In MLB’s report, commissioner Rob Manfred wrote in part: “At the outset, I also can say our investigation revealed absolutely no evidence that Jim Crane, the owner of the Astros, was aware of any of the conduct described in this report. Crane is extraordinarily troubled and upset by the conduct of members of his organization, fully supported my investigation, and provided unfettered access to any and all information requested.”

It is of course worth noting that Manfred is in effect employed by the 30 MLB team owners, and that power dynamic could have colored his investigation of Crane’s role in the scandal. While the wording of the report does not use the word “exonerated” in any form, the above passage can easily be parsed to absolve Crane. 

Bolsinger originally filed the civil lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Feb. 10. In it he accused the Astros of unfair business practices and negligence, among other charges, which he claimed shortened his big-league career. In the suit, he’s requested that the Astros be forced to return roughly $31 million in World Series bonuses, which would be distributed to charities. 

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