Canceled MLB season wouldn’t extend suspensions of ex-Astros GM Jeff Luhnow or manager A.J. Hinch, report says

Back in January, Major League Baseball suspended then-Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch for the duration of the 2020 season following its investigation into the club’s past improper use of technology. With the spread of the novel coronavirus delaying and threatening the season, a reasonable question to ask is: What happens to Luhnow and Hinch’s suspensions if 2020 comes and goes without a single game being played?

The answer is that MLB would consider those suspensions to be fulfilled anyway, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney. That’s because commissioner Rob Manfred did not establish a set number of games that Luhnow and Hinch had to sit out. Rather, the suspensions are worded to elapse “following the completion of the 2020 World Series.”

Luhnow and Hinch were fired by the Astros after Manfred published his findings. The Astros used live feeds during games to steal the opposition’s signs, then relayed that information by banging on a trash can. Although Manfred described the operation as “player-driven,” subsequent reports suggested Houston’s front office had some involvement. 

Of the two, Hinch is considered more likely to return to baseball circles — if only because he’s a lifer, whereas Luhnow would presumably have options available to him in the financial industry, in which he used to work. 

The Astros have since replaced Luhnow and Hinch by hiring former Tampa Bay Rays executive James Click and veteran skipper Dusty Baker. The other penalties the Astros faced were the loss of four draft picks and a $5 million fine, the largest permitted under the Major League Constitution. 

Two other managers lost their jobs in the scandal’s fallout: Carlos Beltran (New York Mets) and Alex Cora (Boston Red Sox). Both were identified as masterminds behind the scandal. The league has yet to release its findings from a similar investigation into Cora’s Red Sox. 

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