The Houston Astros' sign stealing did not impact the outcome of the 2017 World Series, according to team owner Jim Crane.

A league investigation found the Astros had stolen signs during their 2017 championship, and general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch were suspended and then fired by Houston in a story that has dominated the MLB offseason.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were beaten by the Astros in the seventh and deciding game of the World Series, but MLB commissioner Rob Manfred suggested the team will not be stripped of their title.

Speaking to the media at spring training on Thursday, Crane said: "Our opinion is this didn't impact the game. We had a good team. We won the World Series and we'll leave it at that."

With Luhnow and Hinch already dismissed, and Alex Cora - formerly the Astros' bench coach - having left his role as manager of the Boston Red Sox, Crane added: "I don't think I should be held accountable."

Second baseman and 2017 American League MVP Jose Altuve was more apologetic, saying: "The whole Astros organisation and the team feels bad about what happened in 2017.

"The team is determined to move forward, to play with intensity and to bring back a championship to Houston in 2020."

And eight-time All-Star Justin Verlander later spoke to reporters, revealing his regret at the team's actions.

"Once I spent some time and understood what was happening, I wish I had said more," said Verlander, who joined the team during the 2017 campaign and was named AL Championship Series MVP.

"Looking back, I can't go back, I can't reverse my decision. Like I said, I wish I had said more. I didn't and, for that, I'm sorry."

MLB does not intend to strip the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox of their World Series titles as a result of the sign-stealing scandal.

An investigation found the Astros had stolen signs en route to their 2017 championship.

Houston fired general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch after the pair were suspended, while the Red Sox - the 2018 champions - parted ways with manager Alex Cora.

Cora had been bench coach for the Astros before leading Boston to the title, and an investigation into the Red Sox is ongoing.

However, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, speaking for the first time since the investigation, suggested it would be difficult to alter past World Series results at this stage.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were beaten on both occasions, yet Manfred insists it cannot be assumed they would have otherwise won.

"Well, we haven't concluded our investigation with the Red Sox," Manfred told FOX Business.

"So, it's a little hard to take the trophy away from somebody who hasn't yet been found to do something wrong. We don't know what the outcome of that's going to be.

"The second flaw is whatever the impact of the sign stealing was, it could've changed who was in the World Series. It is absolutely unclear that the Dodgers would've been the World Series champion.

"I think there's a long tradition in baseball of not trying to change what happened.

"I think the answer from our prospective is to be transparent about what the investigation showed, and let our fans make their own decision about what happened."

Houston Astros star Jose Altuve is adamant the embattled franchise "will be fine" and will be in the World Series again after the sign-stealing scandal.

The Astros sacked general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch after the duo were suspended following an MLB investigation into allegations of sign stealing.

Luhnow and Hinch were given year-long bans by MLB while Houston were fined $5million and have been forced to forfeit their first and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 drafts.

In a statement, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said the Astros were warned about the league's policies on sign stealing in September 2017 and "took no action" to comply with these during their run to a maiden World Series title later that season.

But on Saturday, 2017 American League MVP Altuve told reporters: "Believe me, in the end of the year, everything will be fine.

"We're going to be in the World Series again. People don't believe it, we will. We will. We made it last year, we were one game away of winning it all."

Altuve – a six-time All-Star and 2015 Gold Glove winner – added: "I have two options. One is cry, and one is go down and play the game and [perform] and help my team. And you know what one I am going to do."

"It's a tough situation, and as a team, we have to stay together and go through this as a team like we've been doing, always," added five-time Silver Slugger Altuve.

"We have to talk about it at spring training and try not to let things in the past distract us for next year."

 

George Springer and the tainted Houston Astros avoided arbitration by settling on a one-year deal.

Astros star Springer will reportedly earn $21million in 2020 following Thursday's announcement.

The deal comes as the sign-sealing scandal engulfs the Astros – who sacked general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch.

Luhnow and Hinch were fired after the duo were handed one-year suspensions following an MLB investigation into allegations of sign stealing.

The Astros were fined $5m and forced to forfeit their first and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 drafts.

In a statement, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said the Astros were warned about the league's policies on sign stealing in September 2017 and "took no action" to comply with these during their run to a maiden World Series title later that season.

Springer – a three-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger – was a key figure in Houston's triumphant season, crowned World Series MVP.

The 30-year-old has called Houston home since he was drafted by the Astros in 2011, while he made his debut three years later.

New York Mets manager Carlos Beltran has left his post with the team before taking charge of a single game after he was named in MLB's findings from an investigation into sign stealing.

The Houston Astros were the subject of the investigation from the league after they had initially been warned about sign-stealing policies in September 2017 ahead of their run to a maiden World Series title later that season.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said the Astros "took no action" to comply with the policies after the league-wide warning, and general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch were suspended before Houston sacked the pair.

Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora was also dismissed after he was named by Manfred, with Beltran, an Astros player at the time, becoming the latest to lose his job.

Manfred revealed in his statement earlier this week: "Approximately two months into the 2017 season, a group of players, including Carlos Beltran, discussed that the team could improve on decoding opposing teams' signs and communicating the signs to the batter."

The Mets announced Beltran's departure in a statement on Thursday.

"We met with Carlos last night and again this morning and agreed to mutually part ways," chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon and executive vice president and general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said.

"This was not an easy decision. Considering the circumstances, it became clear to all parties that it was not in anyone's best interest for Carlos to move forward as manager of the New York Mets.

"We believe that Carlos was honest and forthcoming with us. We are confident that this will not be the final chapter in his baseball career.

"We remain excited about the talent on this team and are committed to reaching our goals of winning now and in the future."

Beltran added in his own statement released by the Mets: "At a meeting this morning with Jeff and Brodie, we mutually agreed to part ways.

"I'm grateful to them for giving me the opportunity, but we agreed this decision is in the best interest of the team. I couldn't let myself be a distraction for the team.

"I wish the entire organisation success in the future."

Nine-time All-Star Beltran retired from playing after finally landing a first title with the Astros.

The 42-year-old, who played for the Mets between 2005 and 2011, had only replaced Mickey Callaway as manager in November, signing a three-year contract with the option for another 12 months.

A.J. Hinch apologised for failing to stop the Houston Astros' alleged sign stealing in 2017.

The Astros fired general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager Hinch after the duo were suspended following an MLB investigation into allegations of sign stealing.

Luhnow and Hinch were given year-long bans by MLB while Houston were fined $5million and have been forced to forfeit their first and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 drafts.

In a statement, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said the Astros were warned about the league's policies on sign stealing in September 2017 and "took no action" to comply with these during their run to a maiden World Series title later that season.

Hinch released a statement of his own later on Monday, apologising for failing to stop the Astros' sign stealing.

"I appreciate commissioner Manfred's unwavering commitment to upholding the best interests of baseball. I regret being connected to these events, am disappointed in our club's actions within this timeline, and I accept the commissioner's decision," he said.

"As a leader and Major League manager, it is my responsibility to lead players and staff with integrity that represents the game in the best possible way. While the evidence consistently showed I didn't endorse or participate in the sign stealing practices, I failed to stop them and I am deeply sorry.

"I apologise to Mr. [Jim] Crane for all negative reflections this may have had on him and the Astros organisation. To the fans, thank you for your continued support through this challenging time - and for this team. I apologise to all of you for our mistakes but I'm confident we will learn from it - and I personally commit to work tirelessly to ensure I do.

"My time in Houston has provided some of the greatest moments in my career and those memories will always be near and dear to me and my family. I regret that my time with the Astros has ended, but will always be a supporter of the club, players, and staff I've had the privilege of working alongside. I wish them the best in the future of the game I love."

The Houston Astros have fired general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch after the duo were suspended following an MLB investigation into allegations of sign stealing.

Luhnow and Hinch were given year-long bans by MLB while Houston were fined $5million and have been forced to forfeit their first and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 drafts.

In a statement, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said the Astros were warned about the league's policies on sign stealing in September 2017 and "took no action" to comply with these during their run to a maiden World Series title later that season.

"While it is impossible to determine whether the conduct actually impacted the results on the field, the perception of some that it did causes significant harm to the game," Manfred said.

Shortly after that announcement, Houston owner Jim Crane conducted a news conference in which he confirmed Luhnow and Hinch had been dismissed.

"I'm going above and beyond MLB's penalty, today I have made the decision to dismiss A.J. Hinch and Jeff Luhnow," Crane told reporters.

"We need to move forward with a clean slate and the Astros will become a stronger organisation because of this today.

"You can be confident that we will always do the right thing and we will not have this happen on my watch."

MLB instigated an investigation following allegations from a report in The Athletic, which quoted Oakland Athletics pitcher Mike Fiers, who said Houston were using a camera positioned in the outfield to detect signs and relay them to hitters.

As well as suspending Luhnow and Hinch, former Astros assistant Brandon Taubman has also received a year-long ban from MLB. 

Taubman had been fired by the Astros in October following offensive comments he directed at a group of female reporters.

MLB World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg has agreed a seven-year contract to return to the Washington Nationals.

The Nationals announced the news on Monday in what is reported to be a record deal for a pitcher, coming in at $245million.

Strasburg was key to the Nationals' 4-3 victory over the Houston Astros in October, securing the franchise's first World Series title before entering free agency.

A three-time All-Star and 2012 Silver Slugger, Strasburg started Games 2 and 6 of the World Series, going 2-0 with a 2.51 ERA, 14 strikeouts and two walks in 14.3 innings of work.

"We are very excited to welcome Stephen Strasburg and his family back to the Washington Nationals," said Nationals managing principal Owner Mark D Lerner.

"His tremendous talent, work ethic and leadership have been a staple of our organisation since the day we selected him in the 2009 MLB Draft.

"We would not have won the 2019 World Series or accomplished everything we have these last 10 seasons if not for Stephen's many contributions."

Strasburg is fifth on the all-time list for MLB strikeouts with 1,603.

New York Mets star Jacob deGrom secured back-to-back National League Cy Young Award honours, while Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander was also recognised again in the American League.

MLB's biggest pitching prize was announced on Wednesday, with DeGrom topping the votes in the NL and Verlander in the AL midweek.

DeGrom became the 11th pitcher to secure successive Cy Young Awards after appearing at the top of all but one of the 30 ballots this year.

"Words can't express it," DeGrom said. "I said it was a dream to win one, but to win back to back, honestly, I'm kind of speechless right now."

A three-time All-Star, DeGrom had a 1.89 ERA and .538 opponents' OPS in his final 23 starts, covering 152 innings, as the Mets missed the playoffs for the third consecutive season.

DeGrom led the NL in strikeouts (255) and ranked second in ERA (2.43) after the Mets posted a 77-85 win-loss record in 2019.

As for Houston's Verlander, the eight-time All-Star finally added to his 2011 AL Cy Young Award.

Verlander produced one of his best seasons as the Astros reached the World Series before falling to the Washington Nationals – leading the league in wins (21), innings (223), batting average against (.172) and WHIP (0.80).

The 36-year-old finished ahead of Astros team-mate Gerrit Cole, who has been linked with a move away from Houston.

New York Mets star Pete Alonso and Houston Astros designated hitter Yordan Alvarez were named Rookies of the Year on Monday.

Alonso, 24, blasted 53 home runs for the Mets in 2019 and was a runaway winner in the National League.

The Home Run Derby winner finished with 148 points, well clear of the Atlanta Braves' Mike Soroka (82) and San Diego Padres' Fernando Tatis Jr. (26).

Alvarez was the unanimous winner in the American League with 150 points, becoming the third Astros player to claim the prize.

The 22-year-old enjoyed a fine season that included 27 home runs and 78 RBIs as the Astros reached the World Series.

"I'm very happy, very thankful to my family, to the team, to everybody who has supported me, to everybody in Cuba," Alvarez said through an interpreter, via MLB.com.

"I appreciate all the help everybody has given me during the season, especially my team-mates and all the fans."

The Washington Nationals are the newly crowned world champions in baseball, the NFL's trade deadline is boring and an injury to Stephen Curry has left Golden State in a hole

A lot has certainly happened this week - learn more below.

 

1. Washington Nationals come from behind to win World Series

This was not supposed to happen. The Nationals started the year 19-31 but made the playoffs in the National League on a wildcard berth. But still, they had to face an Astros team with home-field advantage that won 107 games and 61 at home in 2019. Washington were not supposed to win a title.

But, after falling behind 3-2 in the series, the Nationals won two straight games over the Astros at Minute Maid Park coming from behind in both games to take the first championship in the history of the organisation.

The Astros won 117 games in total in 2019 but it just was not quite enough. Stephen Strasburg was named the World Series MVP after winning two games while Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto were huge contributors as well. Now the eyes of MLB turn to the postseason where Strasburg has a chance to be a free agent while Astros ace Gerrit Cole absolutely will be.

 

2. What a boring deadline

The NFL is not the NBA or MLB. The league does not have a crazy eventful trade deadline, but after a 2018 year full of moves we thought we were going to have some drama on Tuesday. Instead, when it was all said and done, there was just one trade made before things wrapped up.

There were plenty of trades that happened leading up to the deadline, as Jalen Ramsey went to the Rams and Marcus Peters went to the Ravens, but all in all, this one was kind of boring. Teams appear happy to stand pat and hope their rosters are good enough to win titles already.

 

3. Stephen Curry breaks hand

For the Golden State Warriors, this season just went from bad to worse. After starting out 1-2, Golden State were simply trying to get a win against a surprisingly competitive Phoenix Suns team in the early going. But what they actually got was a loss and an injury to their star player.

Stephen Curry broke his hand on a bad fall on Wednesday and he may be out for an extended period of time because of the injury. The Warriors were already going to be without Klay Thompsonfor the majority of the year, but now they will also be without the two-time MVP for an extended period of time.

D'Angelo Russell will likely have to lead a team of rookies and youngsters for the next few months, which is not the news the Golden State fans thought they were going to get before the year started.

 

4. UFC 244 already full of drama

While UFC 244 was actually pretty tame in the weeks leading up to it, with main event competitors Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal very respectful to each another, the drama really kicked up a notch in the last week.

First, Diaz announced he would not be fighting after he was told he tested for elevated levels of a banned substance. He said he would not compete if his name was not immediately cleared. Then, in the last couple of days, Liverpool's Darren Till ran into visa issues which put his fight with Kelvin Gastelum at risk as well.

But, it appears things have calmed down as the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and the UFC almost instantly cleared Diaz and Till has reportedly overcome his visa issues while landing in New York on Thursday.

It's been a very dramatic week ahead of what promises to be an awesome fight weekend.

Stephen Strasburg conceded the Washington Nationals needed to be "punched in the face" to spur them on to their maiden World Series title.

The Nationals rallied from a 3-2 series deficit against the Houston Astros to win Games 6 and 7 in Texas, having also trailed as late as the eighth inning in the National League wild-card game against the Milwaukee Brewers earlier in the postseason.

Strasburg was key and, after Washington's 6-2 triumph on Wednesday, the pitcher was named World Series MVP after superb performances in Games 2 and 6.

Overall, the 31-year-old went 5-0 with a 1.98 ERA, with 47 strikeouts and four walks in 36.3 innings pitched across six appearances in the playoffs.

Washington also had to deal with an injury to Max Scherzer, who pitched despite suffering with neck spasms in the days leading up to Game 7 and Strasburg has credited the team's never-say-die attitude as the reason for their first-ever championship success.

"It's almost like we've done it so many times, we have to get punched in the face before we wake up," Strasburg told a news conference. 

"It's the M.O. We don't quit and we never quit throughout the season despite everybody saying that we were done."

Selected as the first pick by Washington in the 2009 MLB Draft, three-time All-Star Strasburg suffered a serious injury early in his Nats career, missing over a season.

"Through all that adversity I think I've learned a lot about myself," Strasburg said.

"When you have the ups and downs you can learn just as much from the downs as you can the ups. I think everything happens for a reason.

"I've learned to focus on the things I can control, I've learned I'm a perfectionist, a control freak. In this game it's very hard to be perfect and control things, but what you can control is your approach, when you go out there and compete it's about execution."

Strasburg also hailed Nationals veteran Ryan Zimmerman, who has spent his entire career with Washington.

"He's been here since day one, it seems like just yesterday that I was drafted and he was out there handing me my jersey," he added.

"I'm so happy for him and his family because he's the face of the franchise. He's dealt with losing seasons, he's been there through it all, dealt with his fair share of adversity so for us to come together as a group and get it done is awesome."

The Washington Nationals clinched their first World Series title after beating the Houston Astros 6-2.

Wednesday's Game 7 victory guided the Nationals to an historic MLB triumph over the Astros.

The Nationals rallied from a 3-2 series deficit to win Games 6 and 7 in Houston and shock the 107-win Astros.

After trailing as late as the eighth inning in the National League wild-card game against the Milwaukee Brewers earlier this postseason, the Nationals regrouped and are now champions.

 

Three takeaways from the Nationals' win over the Astros in World Series Game 7

Max Scherzer bent, but didn't break

After dealing with neck and back spasms in the days leading up to Game 7, Max Scherzer took the mound for Washington with their season on the line and did what he was asked.

Despite traffic on the base paths all night, Scherzer managed to limit the damage to just two runs in his five innings of work. He consistently found ways to get the Astros' hitters out on a night when he did not have his best stuff. 

The 35-year-old allowed seven hits and two earned runs, while striking out three and walking four before Patrick Corbin relieved him at the start of the sixth inning. His performance is all the more remarkable considering the injury he was dealing with was so painful he reportedly wore a neck brace on the team's flight to Houston on Monday.

Home-field advantage was a myth

They call it home-field advantage for a reason. But this World Series proved the exact opposite.

Washington's win marks the first instance of the road team winning every game in a postseason series in MLB history. It is such a rare phenomenon the feat had never been pulled off in any postseason series in either the NHL or NBA either.

The Nationals might as well have called Minute Maid Park home because Nationals Park was anything but this series. Washington scored three runs combined in Games 3, 4 and 5 in D.C. while in Games 1, 2, 6 and 7, they scored 30.

Washington also posted an 8-1 record on the road this postseason, including eight straight after dropping Game 1 of the National League Division Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

Washington's bullpen were rock solid

Once Washington manager Dave Martinez handed the game over to his bullpen, the contest was over.

Corbin and Daniel Hudson combined for four shut-out innings, allowing just two hits while striking out seven and walking none. Over the 35 at-bats Houston saw on the night, they left a collective 10 runners on base and plated just two runs. 

While the Astros' hitters left much to be desired with their performance at the plate these last two games, much can be said about how good Washington's bullpen were.

The victory is even sweeter for Hudson, who was released by the Los Angeles Angels in March and then spent most of the season with the Toronto Blue Jays before he was dealt to the Nationals at the trade deadline.

In hindsight, the deal to acquire Hudson and the signing of Corbin in free agency have paid dividends for the Nats.

"Take it back".

It is not a complicated slogan. But it is one the Houston Astros took on before this year signifying one thing: they wanted to take the title back after failing to repeat as World Series champions in 2018.

Taking that into account, there is no other way to look at the 2019 season for the Astros than as one of failure.

With Houston's 6-2 loss to the Washington Nationals on Wednesday, the Astros fell in seven games in the World Series. It is a second-place finish for Houston, something this team wanted no part of during the year.

"It was a good year," Alex Bregman said before the start of the playoffs. "But none of that means anything now. It's all about the postseason."

He continued: "In this game, when we show up to spring training, we're not worried about winning the Hank Aaron award or MVP. We're worried about winning a World Series. The only MVP award we worry about is the World Series MVP."

Bregman went 0 for three in the Game 7 loss and six for 32 (.188) in the series.

The 2019 season was about one thing for the Astros: winning. It was not about winning their first title, it was about winning another one. It was about getting back to the World Series and winning a second title in three years; something that the San Francisco Giants, Boston Red Sox and St Louis Cardinals have all done since the start of the millennia.

Wednesday's loss was a failure. Not a failure for one game, but a failure over 180.

Gerrit Cole's Game 5 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, in which he struck out 10 batters while allowing one run in eight innings, does not matter anymore. Jose Altuve's walk-off homer against the New York Yankees to win the pennant is a distant memory now.

Former Astros catcher Brian McCann put it best after throwing out the first pitch in Game 1 of the World Series: "When you win a championship somewhere, it's special. It lives on forever."

But it is the Nationals who claimed this year's title. The Astros won 117 games but they were not crowned the champions.

The reasons why are simple: Justin Verlander went 0-2, Houston went 15 for 57 (.263) with runners in scoring position including one for eight in Game 7, the Astros overexposed Will Harris as he gave up two huge home runs in Games 6 and 7 and they went 0-4 at Minute Maid Park – losing four games in a row at home for the first time all season.

Were the Astros great this year? Absolutely. Were they the best team in baseball? You can certainly make that argument.

But if Houston are put on the spot and asked after this series if this season was a failure, they can answer with only one word: Yes.

Washington Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg has been named the MLB World Series MVP after leading the franchise to their first championship.

Strasburg was rewarded for his efforts following the Nationals' 6-2 win over the Houston Astros in Game 7 on Wednesday.

A three-time All-Star and 2012 Silver Slugger, Strasburg started Games 2 and 6 of the World Series, going 2-0 with a 2.51 ERA, 14 strikeouts and two walks in 14.3 innings of work.

Strasburg's best performance of not only the series but the postseason came in Game 6 with Washington's season on the line.

The 31-year-old pitched 8.3 innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits while striking out seven and walking two. 

For the 2019 playoffs, Strasburg posted mind-boggling numbers. In six games (five starts), he went 5-0 with a 1.98 ERA, with 47 strikeouts and four walks in 36.3 innings pitched.

Page 1 of 9
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.