The investigators charged with determining whether the Houston Astros cheated have conducted almost 60 witness interviews and reviewed 76,000 emails, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said Wednesday.
“I think that is probably the most thorough investigation the commissioner’s office has ever undertaken,” Manfred said at baseball’s winter meetings.
Manfred said the evidence also included “a whole additional trove of instant messages” and that more interviews were planned. He offered no timetable for the conclusion of the investigation or the announcement of any punishment.
The league launched its investigation after pitcher Mike Fiers, who played for the Astros in 2017, told the Athletic that the team had stolen signs using a center-field camera that fed pictures to a television monitor behind the dugout, which would violate rules on how technology can be used during games. The league also is investigating whether the Astros might have engaged in similar behavior over the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
“Absolutely,” Roberts said.
“No question in my mind,” Friedman said.
It is considered unlikely that the league would strip the Astros of their World Series title. Fines, suspensions and the loss of draft picks are among other possible sanctions.
“It is my hope to conclude the investigation just as promptly as possible, but it’s really hard to predict how long something like that is going to take,” Manfred said.
“At this point in the investigation it would be wholly inappropriate for me to speculate about what types of discipline might be in play. I’m going to get all the facts in front of me and make a decision as promptly as possible on discipline, and obviously you all will know about it as soon as it happens.”