A Houston Astros front-office executive reportedly suggested the use of cameras to steal signs in an email to scouts ahead of the 2017 MLB playoffs, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich report.
The email, which was reportedly sent in August 2017, details the team's scouting plans prior to the playoffs.
"One thing in specific we are looking for is picking up signs coming out of the dugout,” the email, disclosed to The Athletic, read. “What we are looking for is how much we can see, how we would log things, if we need cameras/binoculars, etc. So go to game, see what you can (or can’t) do and report back your findings."
According to ESPN's Jeff Passan, the executive that sent the email is Kevin Goldstein, a special assistant to Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow. Beyond the email, conversations of sign stealing reportedly also took place in phone calls and discussions in a group Slack channel as well. Multiple Astros scouts were "appalled" by being asked to possibly use cameras to steal signs, and some said that to management.
“Nobody wanted to do that, and take a chance of getting caught and ruining their reputation, not only as a scout but then even further damage what the Astros had going,” a person involved in the conversations told The Athletic.
This disclosed email comes after The Athletic reported earlier this week that the Astros electronically stole signs in their 2017 World Series-winning season. In addition to Houston manager A.J. Hinch, Red Sox manager Alex Cora and Mets manager Carlos Beltran were both later linked to "the sign-stealing system used that season," while they were members of the Astros. Cora was the Houston bench coach before he left for Boston prior to the 2018 season. Beltran, then the Astros' designated hitter, was named the the Mets' skipper earlier this month.
While scouts were asked to use cameras in an effort to steal signs, the extent to which Houston management used the information is reportedly unclear. One scout believes the findings could have been used in that season.
“It just goes to the story, for 2017, we were asked to electronically cheat in the playoffs,” one scout told The Athletic.
Both Major League Baseball and the Astros declined to comment on the reported email communication from a Houston executive. The league remains in the process of investigating the situation.