Sport Report: Astros investigation progressing and discipline seems likely

22:42  14 december  2019
22:42  14 december  2019 Source:   mlbtraderumors.com

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Based on what we know, it's entirely possible the Astros participated in sign-stealing aided by a live feed from a center-field camera. The Astros maintain their belief that their actions were “in line with industry standards,” according to Andy Martino of SNY.tv.

Jeff Luhnow wearing glasses: Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow.© Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow.

The newest sticking point is an insistence out of Houston that the camera in question was already in place and not purchased/installed specifically for the purpose of stealing signs. It may seem a bizarre place to draw a line in the sand — and on its own hardly exculpatory — but the installation of equipment does affect the breadth of involvement necessary to put a sign-stealing process in place.

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At least one witness told Martino that many teams use a similar camera for the decoding of signs. Said the witness: “All we asked for was a live feed.” Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron played the part of antagonist as the conflict escalated between the Astros and Yankees during the ALCS, though as of right now, it’s unclear who might expect discipline beyond GM Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch.

Regardless, it does seem that the investigation is progressing and discipline of some sort seems likely.

Now, let’s get back to hot stove action and check in on a couple of clubs:

  • Count the San Diego Padres among those teams more focused on shedding contracts than adding them. GM A.J. Preller’s top priority right now is finding a taker for outfielder Wil Myers, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Jayson Stark. Myers is due $22.5M per year for the next three seasons, with a $20M team option for 2023 that comes with a $1M buyout. That’s a steep payout for a 29-year-old corner outfielder/first baseman who put up just 96 wRC+ last season. The Padres are also looking to move catcher Austin Hedges, who is set to make roughly $2.9M next season and has two more arbitration seasons remaining.
  • For the second straight offseason, the Padres continue to talk with the Indians about pitcher Corey Kluber, tweets MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, though a deal on that front before spring training seems unlikely. The Padres reportedly remain curious about Dallas Keuchel and Madison Bumgarner as well, but a deal for any top pitcher seems unlikely unless they find a taker for Myers — which in and of itself presents Preller with a sizable challenge.
  • Outfilder Charlie Culberson has had a couple of major-league offers, but none significant enough to outweigh the appeal of returning to Atlanta, according to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. The fan base in Atlanta is quite fond of Culberson, a dirt dog and Atlanta native who plays all over the diamond for manager Brian Snitker. The minor- league deal enables the Braves to utilize Culberson’s 40-man roster spot, while incentives in the deal give Culberson similar earning potential to what he’d seen in other offers.
  • Outside of occasional pop, Culberson doesn’t offer a ton with the bat, but he’s a decent base runner and plays everywhere on the diamond except catcher and center field. If nothing else, seeing Culberson return in a Braves uniform would be a heartwarming moment for fans after a brutal injury ended Culberson’s 2019 season. On a failed bunt attempt at Nats Park on Sept. 15, Culberson took a Fernando Rodney fastball to the face that led to a fractured cheekbone.

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