Rangers Can Only Benefit From Astros Harsh Penalty For Cheating Scandal

Chris Halicke

The Astros' penalty for using technology to steal signs has finally been revealed. With the Astros reeling, the Rangers may be able to get back into A.L. West contention in 2020.

Jeff Passan of ESPN reported on Monday afternoon the penalties the Astros would endure for stealing signs with the aid of technology in 2017. The Astros won the World Series in 2017. 

The penalties include:

  • General manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch are suspended without pay for one year
  • Loss of first- and second-round picks in 2020 and 2021
  • $5 million fine, which is the maximum allowed by Major League Baseball

No players on the 2017 Astros are being suspended by baseball, including new Mets manager Carlos Beltran, who was a player on the Astros that season. For more on that, read the story from SI's Mets team site. 

In a very swift manor, roughly an hour after the penalties for the Astros were announced, Houston owner Jim Crane fired both Luhnow and Hinch. 

The punishments are pretty harsh. No team has ever lost it's GM and manager in the same day. The draft picks that are being taken are also huge in continuing to develop the farm system. The Astros have a great team now, but each player will leave at one time or another and they will have to be replaced. 

We are roughly a month away from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training and the Astros are without a general manager and without a manager. That's not a position any team wants to be in.

The Red Sox may also be in a similar position soon. Red Sox manager Alex Cora was the bench coach of the Astros in 2017 and he is expected to be punished harshly for his involvement in the use of technology members of the Astros used to steal signs, including the postseason. 

On the other hand, the Rangers are having a solid winter. They've rebuilt the rotation, addressed and upgraded multiple positions in the field, and are still looking to add more. 

The Astros still have a very solid roster, but their 2020 season, at least in the beginning, will have the effects of this punishment hanging over their heads. It will take a lot to not allow the countless questions from the media to effect their performance on the field.

And now with everybody in baseball keeping one eye open on the Astros all season, will they continue to perform at such a high level when they aren't stealing signs from the team they're playing?

As mentioned before, no team has been without their GM and manager at the same time. Now they are scrambling to bring in new leadership with spring training barely a month away. This will definitely have an affect on the Astros in 2020. It may be a cloud that hangs over their head all season long. 

Meanwhile, the Rangers are turning themselves back into a contender for the postseason. At the end of the day, the Rangers' stock is rising and the Astros' stock is plummeting. And if by the slim chance the Rangers land Nolan Arenado in a trade with Colorado, that will only send the Rangers' stock into orbit.

This is a dark day for the Houston Astros. It's a dark day for baseball. Teams like the Rangers, Athletics, and even the Angels smell blood in the water and want to dethrone the team that's dominated this division for the past three seasons. 

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