A.J. Hinch, Jeff Luhnow suspensions end in 2020 thanks to MLB wording of punishment

A.J. Hinch, left, and Jeff Luhnow talk during batting practice April 4, 2017, in Houston.
(Bob Levey / Getty Images)

It appears Jeff Luhnow and A.J. Hinch are serving their one-season ban from baseball for the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal even while no baseball is played.

Luhnow, the former Astros general manager, and Hinch, the former Astros manager, will fulfill their suspensions even if no games are played this season because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to ESPN.

It’s a lesson in choosing words carefully: In handing down the punishment in January, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said the suspensions end “following the completion of the 2020 World Series.” Had Manfred suspended Luhnow and Hinch for a specific number of games, their suspensions would not have begun until games were played.


Hinch and Luhnow were handed the punishment by Major League Baseball and subsequently fired by Astros owner Jim Crane in January following an MLB investigation that detailed how the Astros used an illegal sign-stealing system throughout the 2017 season — which ended with a World Series championship over the Dodgers — and into the 2018 season.

Old-fashioned horse trading helped bring AT&T and Charter to resolve long-standing differences that blacked out Dodgers games in most parts of L.A.

April 1, 2020

No Astros players were punished and the team was not stripped of its World Series title. Alex Cora, the Astros bench coach in 2017, lost his job as manager of the Boston Red Sox and Carlos Beltrán, who finished his playing career with the 2017 Astros, lost his job as manager of the New York Mets.

In addition to suspending Luhnow and Hinch, MLB took the Astros’ first- and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021 and fined them $5 million.

Although the suspensions of Luhnow and Hinch would be served ahead of the 2021 season, there is no guarantee jobs would be waiting for them. It easily could be the case that neither man is hired by a team that soon, if ever.

Certainly don’t expect the Dodgers to offer them jobs.