Three Astros Were Suspended for Cheating. Two Are Already Back. – Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora fielded questions for more than 30 minutes at last week’s winter meetings, an annual tradition of the baseball offseason that moved from a hotel ballroom to Zoom this year. He was asked about slugger J.D. Martinez’s disappointing 2020 season, the team’s hole at second base and pitcher Eduardo Rodríguez’s health—standard questions for somebody in Cora’s position.
What was more telling was what didn’t come up: the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal that rocked the sport and cost Cora his job just 11 months ago. A day earlier, A.J. Hinch, the skipper who oversaw the cheating Astros in 2017, went through the same exercise in his new role leading the Detroit Tigers—and the tone was the same.
It was the clearest signal yet that two of the three people directly punished for their role with the Astros have been welcomed back into favor, with no lasting damage to their reputations. Hinch and Cora were both suspended for the entire 2020 campaign and quickly fired from their posts—and then rehired the moment they went back onto the market. They addressed the scandal at the time and, a few weeks later, are now more likely to get questions about holes in their teams’ rosters than anything that happened in the past.
For the third member of the Astros organization disciplined by commissioner Rob Manfred, however, no return to baseball has been forthcoming. Jeff Luhnow, Houston’s former general manager, hasn’t been connected to any openings this winter and appears to have a challenging road ahead to work in the industry again.