Luhnow: Red Sox sign-stealing punishments didn't 'pass the sniff test'

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Former Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow isn't impressed with how MLB punished the Boston Red Sox for sign-stealing violations during the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

"They were caught twice - they were caught in 2017, and then they were caught again in 2018 - and that's recidivism," Luhnow recently told The Edge: Houston Astros podcast, according to WEEI.

"I don't hear anybody asking how the front office there could not know," he continued. "The only people that got punished were a video person, and they pretty much let everybody else off the hook, so it doesn't pass the sniff test for me or for a lot of baseball fans as well."

The Red Sox were penalized with an undisclosed fine for illegally stealing signs using Apple watches during the 2017 season.

MLB determined last April the Red Sox also illegally stole signs in 2018, but Boston's violations were "far more limited in scope and impact" than Houston's similar wrongdoings during the 2017 and 2018 campaigns.

The league suspended Red Sox video replay monitor J.T. Watkins for the 2020 season and banned him from working the same position in 2021, while Boston lost its second-round selection in the 2020 draft due to the team's violations.

MLB suspended Luhnow, along with AJ Hinch and Alex Cora, for one year for their involvement in the Astros' violations, and the trio subsequently lost their jobs. Houston was also fined $5 million and lost its first- and second-round picks in 2020 and 2021.

The Red Sox rehired Cora last week, and Hinch recently found a new managerial position with the Detroit Tigers. Luhnow, however, can't get work in baseball, and he claimed in a recent lawsuit the Astros and MLB painted him as a scapegoat for Houston's illegal sign-stealing scandal.

"The easiest solution for Rob Manfred, for MLB - for any sports commissioner, really - is to try and pin it all on one team," Luhnow said. "Even better if you can pin it on a couple of individuals on that team - then you basically say, look, we found the problem. We eradicated it. And it's no longer a problem.

"Anything beyond that starts to suggest it's a systemic problem. We know it's a systemic problem ... I think everybody in the industry does. MLB does, too, but they don't really want to talk about it. And I think it's a lot easier just to say it was one team. It's a good way to sort of put it in one corner and move on."

Luhnow: Red Sox sign-stealing punishments didn't 'pass the sniff test'
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