Ex-Blue Jays Pitcher Mike Bolsinger Sues Astros, Says Sign Stealing Ended His Career

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While many players have voiced their outrage against the Houston Astros, one former major league pitcher is taking action against the club.

Mike Bolsinger, who previously played for the Diamondbacks, Dodgers and Blue Jays, filed a civil lawsuit against the Astros in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday, according to USA Today

Bolsinger is accusing Houston of unfair business practices, negligence and intentional interference with contractual and economic relations. He is suing the team for $31 million in bonuses from its 2017 World Series title and wants the money to go to Los Angeles charities focused on "bettering kids' lives." Bolsinger also suggests the creation of a fund to provide financial assistance to retired players.

"There's a message to be sent to youth out there. Especially athletes, more specifically baseball players," Bolsinger said. "It was awesome to [grow up and] watch the game played the right way. We've kind of drifted from that. It's something we can really express to these kids: You don't have to cheat to get to where you want to go."

The lawsuit comes after the Astros were found cheating during the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Major League Baseball released a report in January revealing Houston stole opponents' signs with the help of an outfield camera. Video was fed to a monitor near the club's dugout, where players communicated to the batter that an off-speed pitch was coming by banging on a trash bin. No banging meant the pitch was a fastball. 

Bolsinger, who was drafted by Arizona in 2010 and made his MLB debut in 2014, blames a particular outing against the Astros for his career crashing.

On August 4, 2017, Bolsinger gave up four runs, four hits and three walks in 1/3 of an inning as a Blue Jays reliever at Minute Maid Park. 

"I don't know if I've had a worse outing in my professional career," Bolsinger said. "I remember saying, 'It was like they knew what I was throwing. They're laying off pitches they weren't laying off before. It's like they knew what was coming.' That was the thought in my head.

"I felt like I didn't have a chance."

The lawsuit cites findings from an Astros fan who documented every trash-can banging incident in the 2017 season. He wrote that the most bangs–54–came during the Aug. 4 game. According to the lawsuit, there were bangs on 12 of Bolsinger's 29 pitches.

Bolsinger spent the rest of the 2017 season at Triple A, going 1–0 with a save and a 1.93 ERA. He was not offered a new contract with the Blue Jays or another team in the offseason and spent the past two seasons playing in Japan.

After the release of MLB's report, Astros manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were suspended and subsequently fired. Managers Alex Cora and Carlos Beltran also parted ways with the Red Sox and Mets for their roles in the scheme as members of the 2017 Astros.

Last week, the the Wall Street Journal reported Houston's electronic sign-stealing operation was first conceived in the front office with the development of an Excel-based application programmed with an algorithm to decode a catcher's signs.

"I don't think the punishment has fit the crime," Bolsinger said. "And let's be honest, all these guys are going to get managing jobs again. …Guys like us that were cheated? I don't have a job. I'm not playing."