Houston Astros have fired manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow after Major League Baseball (MLB) suspended them following an investigation into sign stealing.
MLB had been investigating claims the team illegally used a camera to steal signs from catchers to pitchers during their 2017 World Series-winning season.
Houston Astros owner Jim Crane said that while Hinch and Luhnow did not endorse the plan neither did anything to stop it.
“I have higher standards for the city and the franchise and I’m going above and beyond MLB’s penalty,” Crane said in announcing that he was dismissing Luhnow and Hinch.
“We need to move forward with a clean slate and the Astros will become a stronger organisation because of this today.”
MLB said earlier they had suspended the pair without pay for a year. They also ruled that the Astros will pay a $5m fine to Commissioner Rob Manfred’s office and forfeit their first and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021.
Manfred said in his ruling that if either Hinch or Luhnow engage in any future material violations of MLB rules they will be placed on the permanently ineligible list.
“The conduct described herein has caused fans, players, executives at other MLB clubs, and members of the media to raise questions about the integrity of games in which the Astros participated,” Manfred said in his written decision.
“And while it is impossible to determine whether the conduct actually impacted the results on the field, the perception of some that it did causes significant harm to the game.”
Under Luhnow’s tenure, the Astros went from a team that lost more than 100 games each season from 2011-2103 to one of the game’s powerhouse clubs.